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Thrill Jockey
thrill 063 - 1999

Utonian Automatic is the second full-length release from Chicago’s Isotope 217. In the footsteps of their acclaimed debut, The Unstable Molecule, Isotope 217 have produced another profound piece of jazz wizardry, once again proving that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Utonian Automatic came to fruition via an increased focus on composition. Many of the songs had their inception as rough sketches that slowly took form during Isotope 217’s various live performances; these songs were pared down (or built up) to become the versions that appear on the album. The absence of Sara P. Smith, the trombone player on The Unstable Molecule, also had a direct effect on the way Utonian Automatic was created. The band was forced to look deeper for new tones and sonorities to continue to develop their sound with the new lineup. Additionally, Smith’s absence provided the impetus for the band to use the studio as an instrument to shape and mold the music.

That music, as bassist Matt Lux explains, "is like a flower you can appreciate or you can dissect, but then the flower is gone, and you can’t appreciate it anymore."

Isotope 217 is:
Dan Bitney: Percussion
John Herndon: Percussion
Matthew Lux: Bass
Rob Mazurek: Cornet
Jeff Parker: Guitar



  • 1 LUH
  • 2 Audio Champion
  • 3 New Beyond
  • 4 Rest For The Wicked
  • 5 Looking After Life On Mars
  • 6 Solaris
  • 7 Real Mc'S

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