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Musician

Hugh Hopper

Born:

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

Album

Seasons: The Island Albums (1972-1976)

Label: Cherry Red Records
Released: 2022
Track listing: Poker Dice; Keep In Lane; Xingu; One Way; Scoop; Ana Orori; What A Way To Live In Modern Times; My Little Partner; Mandala; Memory Of Hiroshima; Mountain Pass; Freedom Is Frightening; Rolling Nuns; Pine On The Horizon; Wind Words; OneByOne/HeyMan/OneByOne (Reprise); Black Flame; Tangerine Beach; Superstar / Loxcycle; Nurburgring; Seasons; Accident; At Tangerine Beach; Dunes; 33 1/3; Rainsong; The Monks Song; Shadows; Ishi; Solitude; Nature; Air Over; Crossing the Line; Man of Leo; Stellar; Space; Space Requiem; Space Song; Carnival; Ghost Machine; Surf Spin; Time is Here; Winner / Loser; Space Song; Carnival; Wind Spin; Ghost Machine; Surf Spin; Time is Here; Winner / Loser; Solitude; Nature; Air Voice; Crossing the Line; Man of Leo; Stellar; Space Requiem

Album

Facelift France and Holland

Label: Cuneiform Records
Released: 2022
Track listing:
CD 1
Eamonn Andrews; Mousetrap; Noisette; Backwards; Mousetrap (reprise); Out-Bloody-Rageous; Facelift; Slightly All the Time; Moon in June / vocal improvisation; Esther's Nose Job / Pigling Bland.
CD 2
Facelift; Moon in June; 12/8 Theme; Drum solo; Esther's Nose Job / Pigling Bland.

1

Article: Album Review

Soft Machine: Facelift France and Holland

Read "Facelift France and Holland" reviewed by Maurizio Comandini


Sotto l'ombrello robusto chiamato Soft Machine si nascondono in realtà parecchie band. All'inizio l'interesse del gruppo, nato nel 1966 in quel di Canterbury (anche se loro non vogliono essere considerati come esponenti del cosiddetto Canterbury Sound), era per una sorta di pop-rock patafisico, che poi ha iniziato a dilatarsi verso la psichedelia, il rock progressivo, il ...

1

Article: Building a Jazz Library

Caravan in 37 dischi

Read "Caravan in 37 dischi" reviewed by Maurizio Comandini


Impressionante. Questa è la prima parola che ci viene in mente per Who Do You Think You Are?, uno dei cofanetti più esaustivi della produzione discografica legata al rock. 35 CD, un DVD, un disco Blu-ray. Un volume di grande formato con circa 150 pagine riccamente illustrate, decina e decina di memorabilia legate alla storia dei ...

23

Article: Extended Analysis

Who Do You Think We Are?

Read "Who Do You Think We Are?" reviewed by John Kelman


Trying to find a distinct definition of what has come to be known as “The Canterbury Sound" is as elusive as attempting to describe what, in the jazz world, has become an overused epithet for the German ECM Records label and “The ECM Sound." Attempts to do so usually fail short because, rather than being actual ...

1

Article: Radio & Podcasts

New Sounds and Archive Nuggets

Read "New Sounds and Archive Nuggets" reviewed by Bob Osborne


A mixture of old and new this time. Featured albums are from Behn Gillece, Devin Gray, Camila Nebbia & Axel Filip, Damon Locks and Ivo Perelman & Matthew Shipp. There's also a couple of albums from 2020 that I have only just gotten around to, plus some archive specials from Hugh Hopper, Marc Ducret and Miles ...

Album

Abracadabra in Osaka

Label: MoonJune Records
Released: 2020
Track listing: Seven Formerly; Alphrazallan; Elsewhere; Baker's Treat; Calyx; Kings & Queens; Abracadabra; Madame Vintage Suite; Has Riff; First Grande; Facelift.

10

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 ...

3

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 ...


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