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Hugh Hopper - Hugh Hopper & Alan Gowen: Two Rainbows Daily CD (album) cover


Hugh Hopper


Canterbury Scene

3.77 | 48 ratings

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4 stars Although TWO RAINBOWS DAILY is credited to Hugh Hopper and Alan Gowen, I feel Gowen is very much the dominant player here. The album is virtually an object lesson in "how to play analogue keyboards". It's convinced me that Gowen was the most inventive synthesizer player to emerge from the Canterbury Scene. If you are familiar with bands like National Health, and you enjoy the kind of playing Gowen did for them, you'll love TWO RAINBOWS DAILY. The main difference between this album and any of the actual "band albums" is that this is very much "chamber jazz", almost in the same vein as ECM. The orchestrations, and the predominantly melancholy mood, strongly remind me of Ralph Towner's use of the Prophet synth on his own solo albums, and with Oregon. The mood is also similar to that of some of Brian Eno's late 1970s albums such as MUSIC FOR FILMS, the main difference being, of course, that Gowen actually performs virtuoso soli - something Eno never tried. The term "chamber jazz" can be taken literally in this case, since all of the studio tracks (tracks 1-7) were recorded in Gowen's front room in Tooting, South London. Tracks 8-12 were recorded live in what must have been a tiny club. They feature percussionist Nigel Morris and they're entirely improvised, which gives them even more of an ECM feel.

I had known of the existence of this album for quite a while, but I did not actually buy a copy until earlier this year (2009). Expanding the original studio release with five superb live improvisations was an excellent move. TWO RAINBOWS DAILY may not be an essential Canterbury album, but everyone who enjoys Hopper and Gowen's subtle virtuosity will enjoy this album.

fuxi | 4/5 |


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