Music Reviews

Isotope 217

Who Stole The I Walkman?

Thrill Jockey

They say jazz is the only true American art form. Well, I can’t claim to settle that argument, but what I do know is that when something catches our fancy we usually tweak, contort, and mold it into something unrecognizable from its original. Others say this is what we did to form jazz.

Isotope 217’s new release, Who Stole The I Walkman?, is a deliberate manipulation of electronic textures with the already chaotic soundscape of modern jazz. On “Meta Bass,” the Chicago collective wrap jazz notes around synthesizers, and “Moonlex” is an exercise in strange prog-rock a la bad B-movies. “Kidtronix” is an amalgamation of thudding drum loops and just plain weirdness.

Our other “true art form,” hip hop, makes an appearance on “(pause logo)” as a spaced-out groove. Isotope 217 show off their classically trained chops on “Moot Ang” by breaking up psychedelia rock with soft trumpets.

So, I’m not sure if America created jazz or bastardized it. One thing is for sure: Miles and Coltrane would not recognize Isotope 217’s electro-jazz.

Thrill Jockey Records, PO Box 08038, Chicago, IL 60608; http://www.thrilljockey.com


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