Selected by Don Crispy
Photos by Lenny Gonzales
Various members of Chicago'
notorious avant-indies rock collective Tortoise sometimes redub themselves Isotope 217
for jazz-funk recordings. In two live performances and one DJ all-nighter, Isotope 217 and
friends will introduce Japan to the future of dance music as the Chicago underground sees
Isotope 217 formed in 1997 as an outgrowth of Tortoise bringing together guitarist Jeff
Parker and percussionists John Herndon and Dan Bitney. Tortoise had quietly set about
revolutionizing the US indie-rock scene by shaking up rock's tired clichés with
subversive influences ranging from ambient, classical minimalism and film music to jazz
and hip hop. Along the way, they formed a new movement that the critics dubbed
Isotope 217's 1997 debut, The Unstable Molecule (Thrill Jockey) the same year
also included trumpeter Rob Mazurek, bassist Matt Lux and trombonist Sara P. Smith. Utonian_Automatic
followed in 1999, with Who Stole the I Walkman coming out this summer.
|Rob Mazurek & Chad Taylor
Other permutations of
Tortoise which will be participating in the tour are the Chicago Underground
Duo/Trio/Orchestra, which consists of Rob Mazurek, Tortoise drummer Chad Taylor and
various other hired guns, and Brokeback, a solo outfit of Tortoise bassist Doug
McCombs. As Brokeback, McCombs released his debut CD Field Recordings From The Cook
County Water Table in 1999.
With the Isotope 217/Tortoise/Chicago Underground/Brokeback sound stretching across
boundaries from esoteric jazz to indie rock to ambient techno to funk, the only safe
forecast for these gigs is to expect the unexpected.
Aoyama Cay, 10/14-15,
6pm, JY5000 (adv), JY5500 (door)
Kichijoji Star Pine's Cafe, 10/17, 11pm, JY3500 (adv), JY4000 (door). Info: Headz