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Hugh Hopper - 1984 CD (album) cover

1984

Hugh Hopper

 

Canterbury Scene

3.19 | 26 ratings

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clarke2001
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars

I don't get it.

As much I love Canterbury scene, jazz rock in general, psychedelic dissonant experimentation and - most of all - Hopper's buzz bass tone in Soft Machine, this is almost unlistenable.

This album consists mostly of noodlings. While I guess every prog rock fan loves noodlings, because they're an essential ingridient of prog rock, this one doesn't contain anything else. Almost.

1984 is thematic album; conceptual. It's based on Orwell's novel'1984', and all the tracks are named after fictional state ministries as described in the novel.

But there is no deep vivisection of the plot; there are no vocals; no subtleties of anglosoc phenomenon, no puns made on new speak. One might say: okay since this is an instrumental album it's focused on picturing each of the departments - I expected the same - but it failed in picturing it. or I failed in recognising it.

You see, the only picture I can visualise is a picture of a torture in room 101 - there are a few scary moments in 'Miniluv' reminding me exactly of that. But to be honest, entire album is scary, or disturbing at very least, since it's mostly experimentation with noise, with very few melodies. There are shorter tracks in a form of Canterbury jazz, sounding like SOFT MACHINE from their 'middle' era. I must admit I'm not too keen on this Soft Machine's period, but even without that, it's not difficult to conclude they're not the best jazz songs around. As many reviewers like to say: they're going nowhere. And that's very true.

And that was the best part of the album. Long, meandering, un-melodical sounds are too much to digest. Hopper did many better things on his bass. Other sounds are made with some sort of buzzing lead of synth with variable pitch - a great, gritty sound, but that's the only good thing here. The timbre. Pity. It would made a great funky hook, but it's just a waste of resources.

The main problem here is not in experimenting nature of the record or it's un-musicality; it's the intention. I almost feel like they (the entire band) were playing with sounds, perhaps stoned, and later decided to release that material. It could be named by any other name, '1984' is irrelevant. It really offers nothing, I'm sorry.

This one inspires me to go to listen to some Eurythmics. This is neither for Canterbury fans, neither for experimental music fans. 'Poor; only for completionists' describes it well, since there's no more than 60 seconds of good music in there.

clarke2001 | 1/5 |

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