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Boomkat Product Review:
Isotope 217/Chicago Underground Trio founder member Jeff Parker's new album features a handful of original compositions, a cover of Thelonious Monk's 'Ugly Beauty' and a new version of 'La Jetée', a track he performed with both Tortoise and Isotope 217. Gorgeous solo guitar music that's deceptively simple and effortlessly soulful.
On "Forfolks", Parker proves he doesn't need much more than a guitar and a looper to make affecting, meaningful music. Gone are the complex instrumentations of his distant past; this album's about intentional economy, and it's a pleasure to hear Parker working in this mode. The album's longest track - 11 minute slow burner 'Excess Success' - is the closest to Parker's previous work, with filtered percussive string taps forming delicate rhythms for Parker to expand melodic loops across. It's like post-rock reduced to a faint whisper, with just the jazzy skeleton remaining.
On the other side of the spectrum, Parker's version of jazz standard 'My Ideal' is played relatively straight, and shows his humble skill and light touch. Elsewhere, his interpretation of 'Ugly Beauty' is elongated and incredibly memorable. Parker has always made beautiful music, and "Forfolks" is an understated gem.