Live at the BBC

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This nine-track, 48-minute CD presents material from three BBC sessions, two by Isotope (in which Gary Boyle played guitar), the other by Boyle solo. The Isotope sessions were recorded in October 1973 and March 1974, featuring songs from their debut self-titled album (including two versions of one of them, "Upward Curve"). The liner notes make much of comparisons between Isotope and Mahavishnu Orchestra at the time, though actually this instrumental fusion, more jazz than rock, sounds at least as much like early- to mid-'70s Soft Machine (with whom Gary Boyle had guested on a two-hour German TV special in 1973). It's busy fusion heavy on the guitar-organ interplay, influenced by the early Miles Davis fusion records as well as those of Soft Machine and Mahavishnu. Isotope don't sound as distinguished as any of those points of reference on this disc, but they do have a somewhat lighter and wittier touch than many of the bands that hurtled down this particular path. The final three songs come from a 1977 solo Boyle session, all from his debut solo album, The Dancer, and these get a little funkier and slicker, with future Yes man Geoff Downes on keyboards. An interview with Boyle discussing his '70s work is included in the liner notes.

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