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Hugh Hopper - Monster Band CD (album) cover

MONSTER BAND

Hugh Hopper

 

Canterbury Scene

3.09 | 4 ratings

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Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I'd like to start by saying how I found this LP in a 'World Music' section at a record fair in the late 90's. I'm sure the guy behind the table didn't have a clue about it !! Initially, the cover caught my eye, then the name, Hugh Hopper, Canterbury bassist extraodinaire. Originally released in 1979 on a private label 'Atmosphere', the recordings contained herein come from 1973 and 1974. Side 1 features 5 tracks, all performed by Hugh himself. Four of them being shorter tracks - 'Golden Section', 'Sliding Dogs', 'Lily Kong' and '12-8 Theme', have Hopper toying around with his bass, multi-tracking his distinctive Fuzz-bass, clean-bass and high-speed bass (acting as lead) with occasional use of a rhythm box. These tracks are more melodic in nature, with 'Sliding Dogs' entering quite dark territory, showing the Canterbury styling was not always about tea and scones. The remaining piece, the lengthy 'Churchy', has Hopper experimenting with 'sounds' much in the same way as he created on his debut album '1984'. At times, the repetitive drones are almost ambient and captivating, nevertheless, eccentric. Side two was recorded live in Bordeaux, France 1974 and features his buddies ELTON DEAN (Saxello), MIKE TRAVIS (drums) and two lesser known folks , Jean-Pierre Carolfi (Keyboards) and a back-up bassist in Jean-Pierre Weiller. The downside to this part is that it sounds like it has been recorded in a tin-can. Quite murky with little bottom-end, making it difficult to discern the basses, though from what I can tell, Weiller obviously acts as a rhythm anchor whilst Hopper plays the lead melodies, but not only are they fuzzed, he also had plenty of fun with a wah-wah pedal. We have variations on 'Sliding Dogs' and 'Lily Kong' from the first side, and 2 more lengthier work-outs with 'Nozzles Tecalemit' and 'Get Together' - the former being a bizarre composition full of tri-tones and again very dark, and the latter being a more down-to- earth sounding bluesy/jazzy jam. It is worthy of 3 stars, as many proggers would be more satisfied with some of his material recorded after this venture, such as Hoppertunity Box and his collaboration with keyboarder Alan Gowen ; the beautiful 'Two Rainbows Daily'.
Tom Ozric | 3/5 |

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