The line separating rock and jazz has been trampled over so many times in the name of fusion that it’s difficult these days to even be sure it existed. Isotope 217 muddy things up even further with this set of seven tunes residing squarely in linesville. The extended soloing and vamping of jazz is not neglected, and neither are the rockisms of, ahem, just rocking out and not sounding so studied about it. The emotional direction on these pieces careens all over the place — “Audio Champion” is a wistful guitar melody, and “Looking After Life On Mars” brings out my favorite funk image, the hapless roadside fruitstand that is about to be on the losing end of a car chase. Closing is “Real MCs,” a haunting combination of bass arpeggio and erratically brushed drums. I was saying something about a line at one point or another, but I guess it’s not important.
Thrill Jockey Records, Box 476794, Chicago, IL 60647