HUGH HOPPER biography (Progarchives):
Most people know Hugh Hopper for his role as bassist in the renowned Canterbury band, Soft Machine. In addition to this, Hopper worked with other musicians and by himself to create a wealth of solo material and collaborations. His first album was released in 1972, simply titled 1984. This is probably his most famous recording and is one of the first RIO albums in addition to Robert Wyatt's End of an Ear. On the first album, Hopper worked with John Marshall, Lol Coxhill, Pye Hastings, Nick Evans, and others. After this album, he went on to do work with keyboard great Alan Gowen, Phill Miller-In Cahoots, and other famous Canterbury school musicians and groups. Hopper has made albums under the Cuneiform, Colombia, Voiceprint, etc.. labels and still makes albums and does does collaborations to this day.
Hopper's first album is probably the best one to get. It is an unusual album, but will please most fans of early avant-garde/RIO material. Hopper plays a wide array of instrument (including the mellophone and bass of course), and along with the other musicians, creates this tapestry of out-there noises and crazy effects. Also, of interest may be the albums, Hopper Tunity Box and Two Rainbows Daily (a collaboration with Alan Gowen), but as noted, start with the first album, if you are interested in Hopper's solo material.
Any fan of adventurous, experimental Prog should check out Hopper's solo material and collaborations. He is one incredible and unique Canterbury school musician.
Freshly remastered from the master tapes and issued on CD from the master tapes for the first time, this was the second solo album by Soft Machine bassist and composer Hugh Hopper. This was Hugh's second solo album and his first solo album after leaving Soft Machine. In my fan-boy opinion, it is one of the best records Hugh's ever made and is a fine and distinctively unusual progressive/fusion album that has all the compositional and performance twists and oddities that make it distinctly Hugh's. Originally released in 1977 on the Compendium label, it highlights Hugh's quirky compositional sense and trademarked fuzzbass/looping/lead bass stylings with stunningly great contributions from Richard Brunton-guitar, Elton Dean-alto sax and saxello, Mark Charig-cornet, Nigel Morris-drums, Frank Roberts-electric piano, Dave Stewart-organ, pianet, oscillators, Mike Travis-drums and Gary Windo-bass clarinet and saxes. There were no outtakes or additions to add to this reissue, but Hugh did contribute new notes that tell the story of the making of this album and he gave us reproductions of some of the musical scores for the booklet. An absolutely essential album that I've been pestering Hugh to allow us to release for well over a decade!
This is a lost jazz/rock classic that demands to be rediscovered 30 years later! The original lp had a skip in the middle of one of Elton's wonderful solos and the only previous CD version was recorded off of a vinyl record and had the same skip! This is the first time this album has been released on CD with the care that it deserves. Don't miss it!
"An old Soft Machinist never lets you down. Somehow he's brought with him much of the flavour of his old band.... [Hopper Tunity Box] belongs up there with Third and Fourth...." - Melody Maker
1. Hopper Tunity Box (3:34)
2. Miniluv (3:32)
3. Gnat Prong (7:55)
4. Lonely Sea and the Sky (6:31)
5. Crumble (3:55)
6. Lonely Woman (3:20)
7. Mobile Mobile (5:00)
8. Spanish Knee (3:48)
9. Oyster Perpetual (3:10)
Total Time: 40:42
- Nigel Morris / drums
- Frank Roberts / piano
- Mike Travis / drums
- Richard Brunton / guitar
- Hugh Hopper / bass, percussion, guitar, saxophone (Soprano)
- Gary Windo / clarinet (bass), saxophone
- Marc Charig / cornet, horn (Tenor)
- Elton Dean / saxophone, saxophone (Alto)