In Aymeric Leroy's interview, guitarist Gary Boyle states that Weather Report was more of an influence than Mahavishnu Orchestra, which may come as a surprise to those who followed this band during it's relatively brief tenure in the 70s. Nevertheless, Boyle, bassist Hugh Hopper and drummer Nigel Morris provide current day insight into the unit's legacy amid old black & white photos also contained within the booklet.
The British jazz-rock band known as Isotope hinted at a second generation Mahavishnu Orchestra during its early to mid-70s run. These previously unreleased tracks chart the band's live persona and highlights its historical placement among pioneering Brit ensembles, Soft Machine and others. It's the second rendition of the group as these works were recorded by Radio Bremen (Germany), along with live dates in New York and London.
While inferences to Mahavishnu are in order, Boyle and company distinguished themselves as perhaps a more streamlined entity that sported a grittier and weightier sound, partly due to ex-Soft Machine bassist Hugh Hopper's monstrous bottom-end and mammoth, fuzz-bass notes. Along with Morris' thrusting drum beats, the musicians pursued knotty time signatures, often spiced with memorable hooks. Ultimately, their full-speed-ahead mindset is effectively captured during these 13 high-impact works.
Electric keyboardist Laurence Scott aligns with Boyle for an abundance of briskly enacted unison choruses. Boyle's British-East Indian upbringing comes to fruition in various spots, where he fuses the Eastern contingent into the progressive jazz-rock arena. At times, these facets provide a mark of authenticity to the band's overall scope. Regardless, the guitarist's blazing single-note riffs are sometimes treated with phased effects and distortion techniques. A very fast player, Boyle soars towards the cosmos via his dark-toned licks, while the ensemble often veers off into an aggregation of mini-motifs and extended jam workouts. Moreover, percussionist Aureo de Souza instills a touch of Weather Report on tracks one through six.
The sound quality is more than just acceptable, partly due to the digital transfers and today's cutting-edge studio technology. Needless to state, the album should be deemed essential listening for fans of what might be considered one of the brightest periods (1970s) in modern Western music. Play it Loud!