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Hugh Hopper - Hopper Tunity Box CD (album) cover


Hugh Hopper


Canterbury Scene

3.79 | 60 ratings

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3 stars Hugh Hopperīs second album was originally conceived in 1975, when he was retrieving old music by the time he left SOFT MACHINE. Played with very well known collaborators from the period, Hugh Hopper played basess, and the rest of the musicians added their music to the original lines, combining different formations, from the solo to the quintet. After all the music was played, Hugh Hopper and producer Mike Dunne rearranged the songs and made different modifications, adding some other effects that would eventually result in this record.

The record starts with "Hopper Tunity Box", a dark introdcution on quartet, simple but effective. Very remarkable the job of Gary Windo on bass clarinet, giving that particular mood to the music. It is also a bit strange to listen to Dave Stewart in such a quiet mood, but it wonīt last too long, because the craziness at the end will change the whole sound, turning into a free jazz vein. The quartet continues and, without interruption, the next song starts, "Miniluv", previously appeared in 1984, but much more elaborated, and the band like sound gives it a very different appeal, mainly by Gary Windoīs sax.

With "Gnat Prong" appears a new change on the record, and the band plays as a powerful trio; incrdeible rhytmic section and great job of Dave Stewart on modified organ, performing different solos through a basic rhytmic pattern, more in the typical Canterbury style than experimental, but, nonetheless, very aggressive. The song ends with a slow, dark and mysterious final played by Dave Stewart and Hugh Hopper on fuzzed bass. One of the most remarkable moments of the whole record.

"The Lonely Sea and the Sky", self defined by Hugh Hopper as a neo-Coltrane tune, is played by the quintet, with Mark Charig and Elton Dean. A simple song that reminds me the lightest side of GILGAMESH. The most remarkable is Elton Deanīs saxellos and Mark Charigīs muted cornet, very delicate and intimate, and gives an adequate relax to the previous climax.

Next song, "Crumble", played again on quintet, is basically guitar and piano riffs, in the electric jazz fussion vein, growing with the addition of Gary Windoīs saxes. I donīt consider this piece one of the best of the album, and the faded out ending, that I donīt really enjoy, makes it look unfinished.

The experimental and improvisational aspect of the music appears again with a cover of Ornette Colemanīs "Lonely Woman", improvised with sketches by different musicians, with ambient bass and looped percussions on the background. Interesting, but not outstanding.

The power trio appears again in "Mobile Mobile", another of the great moments of the record. It starts with speed modified bass and drums, but the middle section is played at normal speed with Dave Stewart in superb soloing. The final section is the same as the beginning, but a bit crazier, so the whole tune completes the circle and shows how ellaborated it was at its time.

The record returns to Canterbury again in "Spanish Knee", played on quintet again. On this occasion, there are different accelerations through the main theme, with great solos by Elton Dean, increasing on craziness through the piece, but the fade out at the end is not, in my opinion, the best way to finish that great job, so it is a bit disappointing.

The last song of the record, "Ogster Perpetual", is a solo played by Hugh Hopper on multitracked basses. An intimate song in which you can realize his high quality and inventiveness, bearing in mind the technical elements of the time. A great closure for the record.

It is a bit difficult for me to rate this record, because I have different feelings to it. I am very fond of its music and its historical value, but it actually sounds more as a friends meeting, than as a band. And although I consider it very interesting, not only for the technical aspects, but also for the musical content, I donīt think it could appeal to other people less interested in discovering Hugh Hopperīs music and other offshots of that period. Furthermore, there are some downs on the record that prevent me from givng it a high rating. For me, it would be a 3.5 stars record. For those interested in digging the different projects of musicians related to the Canterbury scene it should be a record not to be missed, but for the rest it wouldnīt be so essential, so I will finally rate it with 3 stars.

victor77 | 3/5 |


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