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ZOPP

Zopp

Canterbury Scene


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Zopp Zopp album cover
4.22 | 87 ratings | 6 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2020

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Swedish Love (1:32)
2. Before The Light (6:05)
3. Eternal Return (5:06)
4. Sanger (3:20)
5. Sellanrå (3:29)
6. V (6:37)
7. Being And Time (4:33)
8. Zero (4:52)
9. The Noble Shirker (9:19)

Total time: 44:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Ryan Stevenson / keyboards, Mellotron M4000D, Hammond organ, Arturia analogue synthesiser, Korg CX-3 organ, piano, Hohner Pianet T, bass, electric guitars, Nord Electro synth, voice, sound design, noises, field recordings, percussion

with:
- Andrea Moneta / drums, percussion, drum recording
- Andy Tillison / piano (6), Hammond organ (3), Leslie processing (2,5,6), co-production (3,6,9)
- Theo Travis / flute (6)
- Caroline Joy Clarke / voice (1,7,8)
- Mike Benson / tenor saxophone (9)

Releases information

Digital Download bandcamp
CD Bad Elephant Music BEM080
release date April 10, 2020

written, arranged, recorded and produced by Ryan Stevenson
mixed by Andy Tillison and Ryan Stevenson
mastered by Andy Tillison

Thanks to historian9 for the addition
and to rivertree for the last updates
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ZOPP Zopp ratings distribution


4.22
(87 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
27%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(51%)
51%
Good, but non-essential (19%)
19%
Collectors/fans only (2%)
2%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

ZOPP Zopp reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
4 stars Wow! Here we are getting close to a genuine canterbury sound, while showing strong roots back into the 1970s. This is the first ZOPP outing, hopefully not the last. More of a solo project initiated by United Kingdom based award-winning composer and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Stevenson. He provides the arrangements, guitar, bass, and a really wide range of keyboard instruments. It's not a big surprise actually that Andy Tillison has his hand in here too, as he's quite open to such stuff with his band The Tangent. He will offer some additional piano and organ input, and is noted as the album's co-producer as well. And then, time will tell maybe, making a very good impression, drummer Andrea Moneta can be considered as the second constant concerning this project. He's also known for playing with the Italian neo prog band Leviathan by the way.

The musical result somehow, to sum it up, I would say combines the spirit of Alco Frisbass, the trickiness of National Health, and the charming manner of Caravan also. Typically genre styled, I'm including Zeuhl as well here, some rare vocals are provided by Caroline Joy Clarke. Though generally we have a strong focus on the instruments to consider. Classical and ambient/space ingredients are occasionally given too, just take the stirring Sellenra by way of example. Manifold keyboards expectedly rule the album. I dig this. The songs in general are providing a charming relaxed atmosphere, entertaining all the way through. 'This will be a can't miss album ...' the associated Bad Elephant Music label insists. Yep, I fully agree. And there is nothing more to say.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars Once upon a time when the Canterbury Scene referred to a specific cast of players who crafted a distinct improvisational style of progressive music that blended disparate doses of jazz, rock and psychedelia embellished with clever technically infused tight-knit rhythms along with a healthy dose of satirical whimsy. These artists emerged from the English city that gave name to a distinct subset of prog but after the initial 70s roster of artists had played itself out, the style quickly went out of fashion. Despite prog's decline as the 70s ended, the Canterbury Scene sounds provided enough inspiration for various musicians all over the world to adopt its unique musical approach. While several Canterbury bands continued the style on as solo artists, not much was heard of this absurdist sect of jazz-rock. Slowly but surely as the 80s churned on, bands like Mr. Sirius and Stubbs from Japan as well as The Muffins in the USA kept the spirit alive but even though a few bands like Moom and Tanger joined the party in the 90s and a few more such as Planeta Imaginario, Six North and Earth Wind Pot took on the complexes of Canterbury in the 2000s, the style didn't really make a true resurrection of the past until the 2010s with bands like Spain's Amoeba Split, Italy's Homunculus Res and Japan's DeLorians giving this unique form of comfort prog a much needed renaissance.

While the Canterbury Scene was making a comeback so to speak, most of the newer artists no longer English except a few outliers such as Magic Bus and Lapis Lazuli but that is changing as the newer generations seem to be catching the Canterbury bug. One of the newest artists to fall into this addictive situation is the Nottingham based ZOPP and after ten years of crafting its debut album has finally emerged onto the international scene to bring back all those warm feelings associated with the greats such as Hatfield and the North, National Health and Soft Machine. ZOPP is the brainchild and musical outlet for Ryan Stevenson who discovered the wonderful world of Canterbury sounds back in the early 2000s when he ran across a few Egg tracks on his dad's computer. Having been immediately smitten, his fascination led him to all the wonderful sounds that made the beloved style of prog so warm and inviting. Add to that the love of the jazz-fusion era of Frank Zappa, a fondness for Porcupine Tree and seeing a live performance of Anekdoten in Bergen, Norway and Stevenson was well on his way to his own obsession of crafting unique musical visions. Hmmm, could the moniker ZOPP be a sly reference to Zappa?

This debut ZOPP album was a labor of love that started all the way back in 2010 and what began as a musical pastiche of sections from Zappa's 'Uncle Meat' and 'Hot Rats' albums, slowly transmogrified into a major solo project that became much more eclectic as elements of not only Canterbury jazz but also electronic, minimalism, hard rock and various strains of prog slowly found their way into the compositions. After a few years off with an attempt at playing in the band scenario, Stevenson returned to the solitude of his visions that began the ZOPP project except that the time had come to take it all to the next level. With his Korg CX-3 and Nord Electro 5d synth organ rearing to go with the help of various fuzz pedals and wah-wah effects, Stevenson solicited the help of others which resulted in a collaboration with drummer Andrea Moneta of the Italian neo-prog band Leviathan but it wasn't until he met fellow keyboardist Andy Tilliison of The Tangent that he received some lessons in how to mix and produce an album that trims the fat and allows all the cream to rise to the top. The results were spectacular!

While technically ZOPP is a duo that consists of Ryan Stevenson (keyboards, mellotron M4000D, Hammond organ, Arturia analogue synthesizer, Korg CX-3 organ, piano, Hohner Pianet T, Nord Electro 5d, bass and electric guitars, voice, field recordings, percussion) and Andrea Moneta (drums and percussion), the album is really a band effort with the additional sounds coming from Andy Tillison (additional piano, additional Hammond organ, Leslie processing, synth, effects), Theo Travis (flute) Mike Benson (tenor saxophone) and the extra voice from Caroline Joy Clarke. While the sounds are retro enough to take you back to the golden years of the Canterbury Scene, the music is eclectic, original and dynamically diverse as well as graced with all the modern production wizardry that makes every sound crisp and clear.

The opening collage track may be called 'Swedish Love,' but with organ sounds right out of the 70s followed by the placid heavenly sounds of Hatfield & the North's diva section The Northettes immediately followed by some ominous feedback fuzz, it's apparent that the track's choice reference to nationality was of sure contradictory whimsy as the sounds clearly evoke the Kent Downs or the white cliffs of Dover just a stone's throw away! As the intro cedes into 'Before The Light' it becomes apparent that another major Canterbury force is at play and that is the love of National Health with strident display of dualistic keyboard effects, those familiar jazzy chord leaps into that undefinable yet unmistakable Canterbury style. Fortified with a heavier prog guitar heft more akin to bands like Anekdoten and Porcupine Tree, it's immediately clear that ZOPP is not about retro fro retro's sake. This confident eponymous debut is quite serious in taking the CS into ever expansive terrains beyond the English channel into the greater world at large however except for the few examples of wordless vocals, this one is entirely instrumental.

With nine tracks that are just shy of a 45 minute playing time, ZOPP keeps the classic feel of a 70s album but benefits from the professional experience from a seasoned prog veteran such as Moneta as well as a modern seamless production job by Andy Tillison. The tracks are well paced ranging from energetic rockers such as 'Eternal Return' and 'Sanger' to the lugubrious piano ballad 'Sellan'.' Mid-tempo tracks like 'V' offer all the delectable Canterbury complexities with time signature rich piano parts, varying keyboard tones and timbres as well as a nice jazzy romp through varying processions of those familiar Hammond organ and mellotron excesses that evoke all those warm and fuzzy feelings of yore. Think early Egg, a little Supersister and a whole lotta National Health and Hatfield and you're on the right track. This is a stunning debut that proudly revives the fiery passionate of the classic Canterbury years with lots of juicy extra touches to keep this from being a hero worshipping folly. This is the real deal as far as cleverly crafted musicianship goes and perhaps one of the best Canterbury albums i've heard in modern times. Is it time for a scorpion or time for some tea? Listen to ZOPP and set yourselves freeeeeeeeeee!

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Competent modern prog done in the Canterbury style most similar to Dave Newhouse's Manna/Mirage though I find Egg, Hatfield and the North, Supersister, and The Muffins also come to mind. Fine sound engineering and overall production for this sometimes simplistic and basic imitation of the best sounds of Dave Stewart, Robert Jan Stips, Phil Miller, Richard Sinclair, and others.

1. "Swedish Love" (1:32) pure and delightful Hatfield and the North . . . until the eerie/bizarre second half (4.5/5) 2. "Before The Light" (6:05) Eggish with some Supersister sprinkled in (8.75/10) 3. "Eternal Return" (5:06) I hear Supersister, Cos, The Muffins, and a little Khan in the tapestry of this one. (8.25/10) 4. "Sanger" (3:20) sounds like The Muffins with Hugh Hopper's bass! (8.5/10) 5. "Sellanrå" (3:29) an interesting sound experimental starting with the organ start and some nature noises and then piano arpeggi and sparse echoing electric guitar notes and, later, faraway female vocalise. I actually really like this. (9.5/10) 6. "V" (6:37) using Andy Tillison as the time holder! Again, The Muffins and Manna/Mirage come to mind. Great bass and some really awesome Dave Newhouse-like melody lines. (8.75/10) 7. "Being And Time" (4:33) more regal and pretentious, like Black Sabbath or Deep Purple, but then turns into more melodic stuff á la Manna/Mirage. (8.67/10) 8. "Zero" (4:52) again, the individual layers of the tapestry are surprisingly simple, but the whole impresses as if some kind of Dave Stewart, Mike Rutledge, Dave Sinclair or even Alan Gowen composition--though, again, I hear Dave Newhouse melodies. (8.75/10) 9. "The Noble Shirker" (9:19) The most full and sophisticated song on the album, done in a style like AMOEBA SPLIT's 2016 album, Second Split.The sax is fun. (17.75/20)

Total time: 44:53

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music exploring the jazzier Canterbury veins.

Latest members reviews

5 stars What a year is this! We are at home on lockdown and God bless the good new music We have. This is the year of the excelent new album by Pure Reason Revolution (check it out) and now We have a strong contender in the category of best album in 2020. I have never heard of Zopp before or Ryan Stev ... (read more)

Report this review (#2354105) | Posted by steelyhead | Friday, April 24, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is definitely the best of the year so far. Zopp has managed to create an exceptional work of Canterbury rock, full of inventiveness, energy and warm melodies that perfectly could have been composed back in the 70s. Among the main influences, hints of Caravan, Hatfield, National Health, Kh ... (read more)

Report this review (#2352428) | Posted by Soul2Create | Saturday, April 18, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars For those of us who were around in the 1970's, growing up listening to progressive rock music, among the plethora of bands,were a small group of artists emanating from the Canterbury area of England. Collectively,these bands and artists were labelled as being part of the Canterbury scene or sound ... (read more)

Report this review (#2345971) | Posted by Bill65 | Sunday, March 29, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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