The innovative Chicago collective Isotope 217 delve deeper into the obscure with this project. This EP is essentially a collection of taped live performances that have been remixed by Casey Rice (Designer) and Commander Mindfuck. Musically, Isotope 217 attempt to push the envelope of improvised jazz, and the decision to offer their music to be further tweaked by DJ's displays a creative edge not found in other contemporary jazz groups. It is this innovative spirit that sets Isotope 217 apart from mainstream acts, and gives their music a unique sound. This album provides glimpses of the different sides of Isotope. Sometimes reckless and other times carefully monitored, the bridges between these gaps are taken away, providing a pastiche of their music. This album is markedly different than The Unstable Molecule, the group's debut album: the songs are longer and less structured, at times sounding like a Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis. Isotope 217 also dispense with much of the subdued tones found on Unstable, opting for a more biting, aggressive sound. Band leader Rob Mazurek's trumpet is a predominant force as is the guitar playing of Jeff Parker. The Commander Mindfuck mix jumps around quite a bit, whereas Designer's is more consistent. To understand this album completely, one needs the background of the first Isotope 217 album and Mazurek's work in the Chicago Underground Duo. This is not the best introduction to Isotope 217, but it displays the vision of its leader Mazurek as a jazz revolutionary.
Commander Mindfuck Review
by Marc Gilman