Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Isotope - Illusion 
This is the second album by the British based jazz fusion quartet Isotope. While the recorded sound is a bit on the murky side, the performances more than compensate for it. Guitarist Gary Boyle really shines here, bringing together elements of Indian music (he was born in India originally), jazz, Hendrix and John McLaughlin with a tart, biting tone yet still having a unique warmth.
Former Soft Machine bassist Hugh Hopper lends his distinct fuzz-bass sound to the proceedings and gives the songs a lot of extra bite and grit as well as being quite melodic in his own unique way. Drummer Nigel Morris seems to have found a precarious balance of technique and soul as he propels the tunes at a brisk pace, really listening to the other musicians as opposed to just showing how fast he could play. Lawrence Scott provides understated keyboard support (mainly on Fender Rhodes) but doesn't seem to feel comfortable going out on the edge as much as the other musicians do.
If you enjoy a well balanced diet of melody, dense harmonies and fiery instrumental work, give this a spin!