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Isotope 217 - JPop.com
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Isotope 217

Isotope 217

Isotope 217


Isotope 217° were a Chicago based band composed mainly of members from Tortoise and the Chicago Underground Orchestra that was formed in 1997. The New York Times described the band as "..adept to varying degrees at rock and funk and jazz and electronics, turn those introspective moments into jams that are messier and warmer than Tortoise's." The music of Isotope 217 is as complex and varied as the influences of its members: John Herndon (drums, percussion) and Dan Bitney (drums Read more on Last.fm
Isotope 217° were a Chicago based band composed mainly of members from Tortoise and the Chicago Underground Orchestra that was formed in 1997. The New York Times described the band as "..adept to varying degrees at rock and funk and jazz and electronics, turn those introspective moments into jams that are messier and warmer than Tortoise's." The music of Isotope 217 is as complex and varied as the influences of its members: John Herndon (drums, percussion) and Dan Bitney (drums, percussion) from Tortoise, Jeff Parker (guitar) from, among others, Tortoise, New Horizons Ensemble and Chicago Underground Orchestra, Rob Mazurek (Cornet) from Chicago Underground Orchestra, Sara P. Smith (Trombone) from Chicago Underground Orchestra, and Matt Lux (Uptighty, Tranquility Bass). In the mid 1990s, these Chicago musicians got together for a weekly engagement at the Rainbo Club, a neighborhood tavern just south of Wicker Park. Their experiments were improvisational, exploring the electro-acoustic realm much in the fashion of Miles Davis' electric music, but with a bit of a Jamaican dub sensibility and a focus on collective group movement, as opposed to climactic individual improvisations with "funky" accompaniment.

The weekly engagement gradually transformed into a weekly workshop - an open rehearsal for the general public as they started to compose and rehearse sketches for the group, crafting a unique method of group improvisation and collective musical arrangement. They had become a band, and named themselves Isotope, a reference from a scene in the Sun Ra cult sci-fi film "Space Is The Place". After discovering that a British lite-jazz group from the 70s had adopted the same sobriquet, they settled on Isotope 217, a reference from yet another sci-fi classic, "Forbidden Planet". Isotope 217 went on to release three albums for the Thrill Jockey label, all to critical acclaim, and modest commercial success: "The Unstable Molecule" (1997), "Utonian_Automatic" (1999) and "Who Stole The I Walkman" (2000), all placing at the top of year-end critics' lists.

They released an EP on Aesthetics Records, a collage of manipulated live stereo recordings from their sessions at the Rainbo Club, mixed by their good friends Mike Kandel (aka Tranquillity Bass, aka Commander Mindfuck) and Casey Rice (aka Designer). Isotope 217 has headlined some of the world's leading new music festivals, including the Verona Festival in Italy and the Moers Music Festival in Germany. They participated in an extremely unlikely but wildly successful collaboration with the Hip-Hop group Cannibal Ox and a host of other mc's from the Def Jux camp, at the Lincoln Center's Symphony Space in 2001. Isotope 217 occasionally still performs, mostly in Chicago, US.

But whether or not a new album will surface is unknown at present moment. Links: www.thrilljockey.com/artists/index.html?id=10024 www.myspace.com/isotope2172 Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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