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MUSICIAN Born:

Hugh Hopper

Hugh Hopper is perhaps the central figure of the whole Canterbury scene. In a career spanning over thirty years, he has played with literally everyone: Robert Wyatt, Daevid Allen, Richard Sinclair, Elton Dean, Mike Ratledge, Phil Miller, Dave Stewart, Pip Pyle...

Hopper was one the founder members of the seminal Wilde Flowers in 1964. During the 60's, he also worked in an experimental context with guitarist Daevid Allen (who later founded or co-founded Soft Machine and Gong). After leaving the Wilde Flowers, he became Soft Machine's roadie, and when Kevin Ayers departed for a solo career, he swapped roles and moved to the role of bass player, remaining in the band until 1973 and playing on most of Soft Machine's classic albums.

In the early days of Soft Machine, Hopper was a prolific songwriter (his song "Memories" became a standard, even covered by Whitney Houston!), but when the Softs opted for an instrumental format, he kept the same level of inspiration, providing compositions full of unusual yet catchy riffs, and experiments with sounds (Hopper was a pioneer in the use of 'tape loops'), for instance on the groundbreaking Third (1970), which featured his own "Facelift," one of the Canterbury "hymns" alongside "Nan True's Hole" and "Calyx." Although he provided the bulk of the material for Fourth (1971), his creative input sadly decreased over the next couple of years, contributing short and rather minimal pieces to 5 and Six.

Hopper left Soft Machine in May 1973, shortly after the release of his first solo album, 1984, which had good jazz-rock instrumentals on one side, and a long experimental and partly improvised composition/collage on the other

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Soft Machine: Live At The Baked Potato

Read "Live At The Baked Potato" reviewed by Chris May

Live At The Baked Potato was recorded in Los Angeles in 2019 as part of Soft Machine's 50th Anniversary Tour. (Fact check: 2019 was the band's 53rd and this lineup's fourth anniversary). The latest album is a lot of fun even though it bears little resemblance to the music of the revolutionary 1966 -1969 lineups featuring ...

ARTICLE: JAZZ POETRY

Poetry and Jazz: A Chronology

Read "Poetry and Jazz: A Chronology" reviewed by Duncan Heining

My intention here is to offer a detailed but inevitably incomplete chronology of poetry and jazz. The focus is solely on the combination of the two art forms in performance, not on poetry about jazz or jazz musicians or poetry inspired by jazz but not performed to music. My definition of 'poetry' is fairly broad and ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Soft Machine: Hidden Details

Read "Hidden Details" reviewed by John Kelman

Following a series of releases for Moonjune Records under the moniker Soft Machine Legacy, beginning with 2005's Live in Zaandam and concluding, most recently, with 2013's Burden of Proof, this quartet consisting largely of members from the classic Canterbury group Soft Machine has finally decided to drop the “Legacy" and go it with the original name ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Needlepoint: The Diary Of Robert Reverie

Read "The Diary Of Robert Reverie" reviewed by Roger Farbey

Norwegian band Needlepoint's fourth release for BJK is an intriguing one, full of vocal-based songs that twist and turn at every opportunity. The near-title track “Robert Reverie" contains a skilfully fast and labyrinthine guitar solo from Bjørn Klakegg, underpinned by wistful words, riff-laden bass and keyboards. and energetic, surgically precise drumming. By contrast, Nikolai Hængsle's Hugh ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Leonardo Pavkovic: Nothing is Ordinary

Read "Leonardo Pavkovic: Nothing is Ordinary" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

More than any other person, Leonardo Pavkovic has made me write some crazy shit. Pavkovic is the primal force behind the joyously eclectic MoonJune Records, which he established in 2001. “Established" may not be the right word: “I am truly an unusual and rules breaking call-it-record-company with a 'label' identity despite the fact that ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Mike Westbrook: Live 1972

Read "Live 1972" reviewed by Maurizio Comandini

La meritoria etichetta inglese Hux Records recupera un live piuttosto raro del 1972 che vede protagonista una versione molto ridotta, in termini numerici, della famosa orchestra jazz del pianista Mike Westbrook. Il periodo è quello della transizione verso il rock-jazz di un arrangiatore molto apprezzato sia dall'establishment jazzistico dell'epoca, sia dal nuovo pubblico che stava sempre ...

NEWS: RECORDING

MoonJune Records Sampler: 75 Tunes, Nearly 8 Hours Of Music For Only $5

MoonJune Records Sampler: 75 Tunes, Nearly 8 Hours Of Music For Only $5

Progressive Music Exploring Boundaries Of Jazz, Rock, Ethno, Avant & The Unknown 75 tunes from 75 albums on MoonJune Records High-quality download in FLAC or/and MP3-320. A $10 contribution gives you an extra bonus album-download of your choice. A $15 contribution gives you an extra two bonus album-downloads of your choice. A $20 contribution gives you an extra three bonus album-downloads ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Ferdinando Faraò & Artchipel Orchestra: Play Soft Machine

Read "Play Soft Machine" reviewed by Claudio Bonomi

Rivisitare materiale altrui è sempre un'operazione ad alto rischio. Soprattutto quando si decide di riarrangiare composizioni che si considerano intoccabili o che raramente sono state oggetto di riscritture successive alle originali. Parliamo del repertorio dei Soft Machine e, in particolare, di quello risalente al periodo 1969-1971, stagione irripetibile e generosa di idee e situazioni messe in ...

ARTICLE: REDISCOVERY

Gilgamesh: Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into

Read "Gilgamesh: Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into" reviewed by John Kelman

Gilgamesh Another Fine Tune You've Got Me Into Charly 1978Today's Rediscovery pays tribute to a musician who has been dead for over 30 years but whose brief body of work remains a seminal part of the British Canterbury scene that included groups like Soft Machine, Caravan and Hatfield and The North ...


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