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Hugh Hopper

Canterbury Scene

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Hugh Hopper 1984 album cover
3.19 | 43 ratings | 8 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Miniluv (14:38)
2. Minipax I (3:17)
3. Minipax II (3:09)
4. Minitrue (1:24)
5. Miniplenty (17:03)
6. Minitrue Reprise (3:08)

Total Time: 42:39

Bonus track on 1998 CD reissue:
7. Miniluv Reprise (5:03)

Line-up / Musicians

- Hugh Hopper / bass, percussion & loops (1,5), Mellophone (1,3), piano (4), handbells & vocals (5), soprano sax (6), producer

- Pye Hastings / guitar (2,7)
- Lol Coxhill / soprano sax (2,7)
- Gary Windo / tenor sax (2-4,7)
- Malcom Griffiths / trombone (2-4)
- Nick Evans / trombone (2-4,7)
- John Marshall / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Barbara Salisbury

LP CBS - S 65466 (1973, UK)

CD Mantra - MANTRA 061 (1991, France)
CD Cuneiform Records - Rune 104 (1998, US) With a bonus track

Thanks to meurglysIII for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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HUGH HOPPER 1984 ratings distribution

(43 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (16%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

HUGH HOPPER 1984 reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars People can praise this as a masterpiece as much as they like, I find it pretty annoying. First of all there some improvised sections on this album that are repetive and quite frankly boring to me. It is nicely examplefied by Miniluv which is almost 15 minutes of improvised noises ( gentle mellow noises, but still noises, no melody).

It turns for the better on the next track Minipax I where the horns at least play a jazzy theme ( an unbearably dissonant theme, but a theme it is). This is the best track here. And so it goes on for the entire album.

The musicians are really good though, and I have no complaints there. I just find that there isnīt much melody here, and itīs weird for weirdness sake. Maybe I just donīt get this style, but I wouldnīt really recommend this to anyone I know. To me this is more Jazz than rock and I like it the other way round.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars This was Hugh Hopper's debut album released in 1973. It was inspired by George Orwell's novel of the same name. Hugh became interested in tape loops ten years before this album was created while living with Daevid Allen and Gilli Smythe in Paris. "Daevid had already been exposed to the work of Terry Riley and was producing sound-pieces made up of repeated tape loops". Hugh was just 18 at this time and living outside of England for the first time. Hugh goes on to say: "For the next year or so I carried on assembling my own loop-pieces. Back in Canterbury Pye Hastings lent me his Ferrograph for a while. I tinkered also with eight-millimeter movies, filming Mike Ratledge and my brother Brian being poetic or Robert Wyatt playing trumpet while looning around in a field of yellow flowers. Occasionally when our parents were away on holiday we had Cultural Evenings-tape and movies together !" That's just priceless !

As for this album it has two long pieces that are quite experimental with a lot of tape loops. No melody just sounds. Difficult is the word that comes to mind when listening to these two tracks.The shorter songs were for the guest musicians like John Marshall on drums, Lol Coxhill and Gary Windo on sax, Pye hastings on guitar and a couple of other horn players. They were very much James Brown inspired tracks, in fact Hugh sent James a demo of the piece when he was playing in London as a thankyou.

The shorter tracks move me to give this a 3 star rating, as much as I can appreciate what he was trying to do with the tape loop pieces the enjoyment factor just isn't there for me at all. An interesting release regardless.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Hugh's first solo album has the merit of sharing some similarities with Wyatt's End of an Ear: both album were recorded while still inside the Soft Machine, but by now the works of a disgruntled member of that group, and both albums definitely fell on Henry Cow members who would be another two years before starting to release albums. Both this Orwell- inspired album and Wyatt's earlobe album can be considered as the foundation block of the future Rock In Opposition movement. Coming with an all-read boring cover, the album consists of two sidelong suites, where appear many Canterbury-related guests, although I wouldn't call them the usual suspects. If Marshall and Evans are expected, Windo and Coxhill are not surprising; Pye Hastings' presence is a bit of an eyebrow raiser. This is obviously the most experimental album the Caravan leader ever took part in. Hopper's first solo album takes its roots some ten years before, upon his first contacts with Daevid "Pothead" Allen whom had been in contact with Terry Riley's loop experiments.

Hugh's work on loops is obviously the first point of interest in this album but the drones from his fuzzed-out bass are also the other feature, but let's face it, this is a bassist's album and the Miniluv intro is almost just that, bass. Things pick up quite a bit in the Minipâx I with three horn players, Marshall and Hastings playing from almost melodic to downright dissonant music, which goes in the second movement losing Pye and Lol, but this time it's mostly music crumbling apart without even being assembled.

The flipside starts Miniplenty on some kind of Aborigen drones (but nothing like a didgeridoo) with added world percussions, but it echoes the Miniluv of the other side of the disc, but it soon develops into dissonant electronic doodlings and nears some atonal musique concrete. Definitely less comfy than the A-side, this one is not for everyone, even not really for me.

A stunning album that's probably one of most adventurous "Canterbury" or Stomu's two albums with Hugh in the fold than this "Orwellian" oeuvre. album, but it must be said that Hugh's work with Japanese writer Stomu Yamashta (after his departure from Soft Machine) in his East Wind formation recreates works of this nature. Personally I much prefer Wyatt's debut solo album

Review by 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.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the leading figure of Canterbury scene bassist Hugh Hopper is well known mostly by his work in "classic" Soft Machine's line-up. But besides of that, he participated in many projects and released all the line of solo recordings.

"1984" is his solo debut,inspired by George Orwell's book with pictures of totalitarian future. Recorded when Hugh still was a Soft Machine's member, this album contains much more experimental side of Hopper's musical vision.One of really rare experimental album,released by major label (CBS released the album, but didn't pay for studio time,etc, so in fact it was in big part Hopper's self-release), this album for me has strong parallel with Hancock's Mwandishi's recordings (even if music is very different on both of them).

Album has quite unusual structure, containing two long Hopper's solo compositions (with overlays,loops and minimal help of Marshall on percussion)and five shorter jazz-rock songs in between and around them.

Two Hopper's solo pieces are continued fuzzing bass, electronics,mellophone and loops drones with some percussion added. Dark and futuristic, they sound as great illustration for future by Orwell. Shorter songs are in contrast very groovy, much warmer,r'n'b based and even funk influenced with Coxhill/Windo/Evans brass sections on arrangements and even on free- jazz soloing!

As a result album sounds as two very different pieces of music, combined in one eclectic and far not easy listening.Most experimental Hopper's work never attracted much attention, but till now it stays one of really interesting evidence of European creative jazz fusion era.

My rating is 3,5 rounded to 4.

Review by Warthur
4 stars 1984 finds a solo Hugh Hopper presenting all-instrumental Orwellian Canterbury that will tickle the fancy of anyone who liked his contributions to Soft Machine's Third. Representing a somewhat more serious and experimental musical direction than was typical in early Soft Machine (though it flowered on Third if you discount Moon In June), whilst at the same time steering further away from more typical jazz-rock territories than Soft Machine were ploughing at the time, this album was long in conception and reveals that even as the Softs were becoming steadily more conventional, Hugh at least had the spirit of their glory days still strong in him. One can imagine the early RIO crowd listening very carefully and taking detailed notes.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Absolutely surprising HUGH HOPPERīs first solo record between a SOFT MACHINE impasse. After listening the first chords on Miniluv, you know that what is going to happen will be, at least, uncommon. Because HUGH HOPPER considered he has a lot more to explore in music apart from SOFT MACHINE, he ... (read more)

Report this review (#128320) | Posted by victor77 | Friday, July 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The first solo work released in 1972 "1984". It had been released before "6" of SOFT MACHINE. Hugh Hopper that seceded SOFT MACHINE began to move originally toward his wanting to do. Work that makes George Orwell's novel "1984" theme. Non-human administrative management mechanism was drawn bec ... (read more)

Report this review (#77117) | Posted by braindamage | Thursday, May 4, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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