Challenge
Memories
Hugh Hopper

Memories

CD | Gonzo | 5060230864273 | HST 240 | 07-14

About the album

Hugh Hooper started his musical career in 1963 as the bass player with the Daevid Allen Trio alongside drummer Robert Wyatt. There can be few other free jazz bands of the era with such a stellar line-up. Unlike other legendary ensembles such as The Crucial Three (a Liverpool band from 1977 which featured three musicians who were to go on to enormous success) the Daevid Allen Trio actually played gigs and made recordings. All three members ended up in Soft Machine, which together with Pink Floyd was the ‘house band’ of the burgeoning ‘Underground’ movement which tried so hard to turn British cultural mores upside down for a few years in the latter half of the 1960s. (Hopper and Wyatt had also been in another legendary Canterbury band called The Wilde Flowers). Hopper stayed with Soft Machine(for whom he was initially the group’s road manager) until 1973 playing at least one session with Syd Barrett along the way. During his tenure the band developed from a psychedelic pop group to an instrumental jazz rock fusion band, all the time driven by the lyrical bass playing of Hugh Hopper. After leaving the band he worked with many pillars of the jazz rock fusion scene such as: Isotope, Gilgamesh, Stomu Yamashta and Carla Bley. He also formed some co-operative bands with Elton Dean who had also been inSoft Machine. This is the first of a ten part series compiled by Michael King, a Canadian Hugh Hopper Scholar. He writes: “My first encounter with the music of Hugh Colin Hopper backdates to the summer of 1976. While visiting a friend I was intentional played a record titled Volume Two from a British rock group about whom I knew little, The Soft Machine. The experience was staggering and prompted a radical reappraisal for the conventions I had been conditioned to accept as ‘Progressive’. Once smitten I undertook to follow and purchase a spate of seriously inventive record albums that Hugh Hopper released and appeared on, namely; Hoppertunity Box, Rogue Element, Soft Heap, Cruel But Fair and Two Rainbows Daily. Throughout these works I found Hugh’s textural bass guitar by turns anchored and animated the music with ample good taste. Here was a rarefied musician who avoided overplaying his instrument in favour of approaches reflecting his personal musical Zen”. Technically, by processing his bass guitar with fuzz box, flanger, wha-wha, octave pedal effects, his use of tapes loops, and latterly computer programming, Hugh constructed multilayer soundscapes with great attention to detail. His creative template embraced aesthetics well beyond the orthodox roles assigned to the bass guitar and its practitioner. As example, Hugh cleverly adapted the time altering effects of the repetitive tapes loops he was creating with two tape recorders in the early sixties - to his bass guitar - by playing such repeating patterns in real time. Furthermore, minimalist mutations and modularity often characterize the rhythmic, harmonic, melodic foundations of Hugh’s musical compositions (many displaying melody lines of uncommon length). These aspects, alongside a brilliant capacity to freely improvise, (dynamically from a whisper to a roar) distinguish Hugh Hopper as a consummate musician of great standing, one who thrived in myriad musical settings”. This ten part series is to compliment an heretofore large body of work (over sixty titles) by presenting previously unreleased concert and studio recordings, with the focus on Hugh’s compositions as performed by groups under his leadership. This first volume has the strapline “Many Friends” and features a dazzling range of Hopper plus collaborators over a period of some thirty five years.

Read more

Tracklisting
Comments


Please enter the code below
code