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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


Jazzloops / The Stolen Hour

Label: Cherry Red Records
Released: 2023
Track listing: Disc 1: Jazzloops - T3; Afrik; Garrisoi; Sfrankl; Acloop; Calmozart; Aintpo; 1212; Digwot; L4; Nigepo.

Disc 2: The Stolen Hour - Craig’s Distended Train Ride Complications at Work; An Inescapable Encounter With Mrs. Pry; ; Yearning for the Stolen Hour; The Long Drive; An Unregulated Sunset; A Sideways Peek at Dreamtime; Snide Wisdom Involving the Immateriality of Time; The Stuff He Sees; Mia’s Timely Emergence From the East; Compatibility; Sharing the Stolen Hour.


Article: Album Review

Soft Machine: The Dutch Lesson

Read "The Dutch Lesson" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Soft Machine had played in Rotterdam several times before this 1973 show in the small theater De Lantaren. But this version of the band was relatively new. One of the earliest shows by the quartet of electric bassist Roy Babbington, Karl Jenkins (on multiple horns and electric piano), keyboardist Mike Ratledge and drummer John Marshall was ...


News: Recording

Hugh Hopper Of Soft Machine’s Legacy Enhanced With The Re-Release Of 'Jazzloops' And 'The Stolen Hour,' Featuring His Soft Machine Bandmates – Out Now!

Hugh Hopper Of Soft Machine’s Legacy Enhanced With The Re-Release Of 'Jazzloops' And 'The Stolen Hour,' Featuring His Soft Machine Bandmates – Out Now!

Hugh Hopper was a key member of Soft Machine and an accomplished solo artist but passed away in 2009. His legacy is now being celebrated with the re-release of two of his solo albums which had been hard to find until now. Both Jazzloops and The Stolen Hour feature his Soft Machine bandmates guesting throughout including: ...


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.


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

Article: Album Review

Stomu Yamash'ta: Seasons: The Island Albums (1972-1976)

Read "Seasons: The Island Albums (1972-1976)" reviewed by Maurizio Comandini

Stomu Yamash'ta è un celebre percussionista giapponese, nato a Kyoto, in Giappone nel 1947. Figlio del direttore della Filarmonica di Kyoto, ha studiato musica all'Università di Kyoto e al Berklee College of Music. Ancora giovanissimo venne notato dal grande direttore d'orchestra Seiji Ozawa e si mise in evidenza come performer di assoluto valore in contesti legati ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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