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Utonian Automatic

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Album Review

Isotope 217's second album Utonian Automatic contains more angular, extended fusion experiments like the jagged, noisy opener "Luh" and the quietly skewed "Rest for the Wicked." The group's percussive elements come to the fore on "Looking After Life on Mars," while "New Beyond"'s moody, murky keyboards settle the song into an uneasy lull. Over the course of Utonian Automatic's seven tracks, Isotope 217 expand their experimental style, making it even more diverse and challenging.


Formed: 1996 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Chicago-based jazz-funk fusion ensemble Isotope 217 featured guitarist Jeff Parker along with percussionists John Herndon and Dan Bitney, all three better known for their work in Tortoise; the roster on the group's 1997 Thrill Jockey label debut The Unstable Molecule also includes trumpeter Rob Mazurek, bassist Matt Lux, and trombonist Sara P. Smith. Utonian Automatic followed in 1999, along...
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Utonian Automatic, Isotope 217
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