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BONE

RIO/Avant-Prog • Multi-National


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Bone biography
Every so often a group of well respected musicians decide to work together. BONE are an example of this and what's more, none of the musicians were even in the same room together when the album was recorded!

Hugh Hopper (the legendery former bass player with SOFT MACHINE) had shown enthusiasm to work with DOCTOR NERVE'S guitarist and composer Nick Didkovsky for a few years, but the pair were not sure what style of music they wished to create together. Both had toyed with the idea of using Midi sequencers and sythesizers, but their ideas changed to one of a "live" setup, which they both felt would be an interesting project. Not being keen on using a drum machine, Nick Didkovsky asked John Roulat (who used to be in Nick's high-school band with him), drummer with FOREVER EINSTEIN to become the third member. So, in 2003, BONE were formed.

The music of BONE itself, is live in the sense that Hugh and Nick produced live multiitracked recordings that they sent to each other. BONE's music is composed by Nick Didkovsky and Hugh Hopper. Nick's pieces were originally conceived when he was using JMSL Score (a staff notation/music editor for JMSL - a Java API - created by Nick Didkovsky himself) and JSyn (another Java API), whilst Hugh's compositions were based around some bass tracks and synth swells that he sent from England to Nick in America in WAV format. John Roulat then added his drums in a real studio, over the bass and guitar midi tracks, with the aid of Marty Carlson (engineer), who had digital mulitrack recording equipment at hand. Nick then mixed and finalised the whole album.

The band finally played a live concert together in December of 2006 (apparently Nick had never even met Hugh Hopper in the flesh).

Their album "Uses Wrist Grab" was released in 2003 (on the well respected Cuneiform Records) and is somewhat of a heavy affair, with seering guitar solos (often of a dark nature, thanks to Nick Didkovsky's use of Machinecore, which he created for JMSL and JSyn), wonderful fuzz bass and tribal drumming, that blends together as an interesting and often deceiving album (in that it's not as simple as you'd might think and takes further listens to really sink in). If you are a fan of Hugh Hopper's unique bass style and like the music of both DOCTOR NERVE and FOREVER EINSTEIN, then you will like BONE. Do be warned though: this isn't the light hearted sound of either of SOFT MACHINE's two distinct phases!

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BONE shows & tickets


  • Splinter on 26 Jul 2014
  • Get in the pit Fest 2014 on 29 Aug 2014

BONE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

BONE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.98 | 4 ratings
Uses Wrist Grab
2003

BONE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
The Gift Of Purpose
2010

BONE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

BONE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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BONE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Uses Wrist Grab by BONE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.98 | 4 ratings

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Uses Wrist Grab
Bone RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Hugh Hopper did a cover of DR NERVE's "Unna" for "Unsettled Scores" a Cuneiform double album where artists did cover songs of other artists tunes already recorded on that label. I have that double cd by the way and it's excellent. Anyway Nick the guitarist for DR NERVE loved Hugh's version and they got in contact with one another and so that got the ball rolling for this particular project. Add drummer John Roulot from FOREVER EINSTEIN and we have a band. By the way John and Nick played in the same band in highschool. This is a power trio with added synths, loops and computer. Lots of experimentation here as well as heaviness from this trio.The cover art was done by Bill Ellsworth.

"To Laugh Uncleanly At The Nurse" was originally done by FRED FRITH GUITAR QUARTET on his "Upbeat" album but this version is much different.This is a powerful yet intricate piece. Kind of punchy early on. I like the angular guitar before it turns experimental. Killer stuff. "Foster Wives,Trophy Hair" has such a great sounding rhythm. Nice and heavy. "Chaos, No Pasties" features Chris Murphy on guitar during the mid section. By the way Chris played in that same highschool band with Nick and John.The guitar cries out and the bass and drums create a heavy base. "Big Bombay" turns heavy quickly and the guitar starts to solo over top. "Hotel Romeo" is my least favourite as we get drums and percussive sounds throughout. "Danzig" opens with some atmosphere as the guitar comes in making noise. Fuzz bass on the chorus.

"V-Ram" opens with a beat that builds with rhythm loops. Fuzz bass and guitars help out. "Jungle Rev" is fairly minimilistic with atmosphere and experimental sounds. Great song. "Sara's Wrist Grab" was originally composed by Nick for Sara Hook Dancers but when she decided on another piece of music it was rearranged for BONE.This is one of my favs too. It's dark as it builds. Some angular guitar a minute in as chunky bass follows. Killer ! "Overlife, Part 3" features fuzz and mutant bass from Hopper.The guitar is fantastic too and often abrasive. "Overlife, Part 1" is mostly percussion and drums as the guitar comes and goes. "Green Dansette" is a catchy little number. "We'll Ask The Questions Around Here, Part 2" opens with drums and bass as the guitar starts to make some noise. "Little End Or Beginning" is slow to get going but it stays fairly minimalistic throughout.

Not as raw, powerful or amazing as their live release "The Gift Of Purpose" as this album features more experimentation, but this is a keeper.

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 The Gift Of Purpose by BONE album cover Live, 2010
5.00 | 1 ratings

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The Gift Of Purpose
Bone RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
5 stars With a name like BONE you better be able to "bring it". Lets just say it's been delivered and then some. Although SOFT MACHINE did have a track called "Bone" from their "Fifth" album written by Hopper's friend Elton Dean. This is a special album released by Cuneiform Records of a live concert from February 2008 that BONE did at Orion Sound Studios in Baltimore, Maryland. Special because 100% of the proceeds of this recording goes directly to the wife of the late Hugh Hopper who needs help financially. Hugh Hopper was part of this power trio in case you didn't know.The other two band members Nick Didkovsky and John Roulat along with Wayside Music's Steve Feigenbaum shared in the manufacturing costs. I must admit I bought this recording knowing nothing about the band BONE. I just wanted to help in my small way but soon found out that the music is absolutely incredible. I checked them out on this site after being blown away by my first listen and noticed Syzygy's glowing review of the studio album which I am now on the hunt for. The music here is dark and heavy just the way I like it. I'm still shaking my head that Hugh in this later stage of his life was doing something this heavy. He absolutely rocks on here ! All three of these guys do though. As a bonus we get this 15 minute track called "The Gift Of Purpose" with Nick and John being helped out by the incomparable Daevid Allen on vocals, Yves Duboin on sax, and BEHOLD...THE ARCTUPUS' Colin Marston on Warr guitar.

"Big Bombay" was composed by Hopper and I did think of John Paul Jones' "Zooma" album here. It opens with some applause from the crowd before the guitar makes some noise and this ridiculously heavy bass comes in.The drums join in as the guitar starts to claw and rip it's way across the soundscape. Oh man this is so good.The guitar settles in. It's crying out 6 1/2 minutes in as Hopper lays off. He's back ! Big cheer after this one. "Foster Wives,Trophy Hair" opens with guitar expressions as some massive bass lines kick in then drums. Nice.The guitar is ripping it up 2 1/2 minutes in followed by a calm. It's building. It's built ! "Banter" is less than a minute of just that. "Green Dansette" has this heavy rumbling soundscape with guitar playing over top.This is great ! Love the guitar here.

"Improvisation" is one of my favourites. Experimental low end sounds early. It's building. Intense is the word before 4 minutes.The tempo picks up a minute later. Hell ya ! It slows down 8 1/2 minutes in but it seems to get even heavier. Check out Hugh at this point. "Overlife Part 2" opens with the guitar screaming out of the gate as the bass and drums support. The guitar settles in with some killer angular melodies. "We'll Ask the Questions Around Here, Part 2" opens with a ground-shaking attack as the guitar comes in lighting it up. Insanity after 2 minutes. Is this legal ? Experimental guitar before 8 minutes as the bass and drums continue the ground attack at a furious pace. "The Gift Of Purpose" features GONG's Daevid Allen on vocals with a moving tribute really. Especially late with words like "Thankyou Hugh" and "Thanks Hugh" over and over. Words that are emotional because not too many people knew Hugh as long as Daevid did, and he sings these words with such passion. You have to read the lyrics that are provided for this song though.They are filled with meaning. By the way this song itself is a fantastic 15 minute ride that is different from the earlier tracks but it compliments them as well.

For me this is a 5 star album even without the special circumstances. Check out the Wayside Music site for this phenomenal release and at the same time you'll be helping out Hugh's wife. Thankyou !

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 Uses Wrist Grab by BONE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.98 | 4 ratings

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Uses Wrist Grab
Bone RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Syzygy
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This is an album that emerged from a highly unusual creative process, in which the three musicians recorded their contributions in different studios at different times - Hugh Hopper wasn't even on the same continent as his bandmates when the album was made. While this is not entirely unprecedented in some of the more abstract realms of electronic music, it's hardly standard practice for a power trio where interplay between the musicians is a crucial factor. What makes this album truly remarkable is that it sounds like most of the tracks were recorded live in the studio, the three players striking sparks off each other in a tiny room with sweat dripping off the ceiling.

First and foremost, this album is as hard as titanium and it rocks like an earthquake. There's a lot of depth to the compositions, and there's enough musical complexity to satisfy most RIO/Avant prog fans, but it's also a joyous celebration of the raw power that is contained in electric guitar, bass and drums. All 3 musicians play with a combination of extreme skill and skull shattering heaviness, with the emphasis on ensemble performance; there are no passages where one of the players takes an extended solo while the others hold down the beat (although Hotel Romeo is entirely performed on drums, while bizarrely not really sounding like a drum solo). The drumming at times recalls the primal beats that have underpinned OOIOO's recent albums, while Hugh Hopper's bass stalks through the arrangements like a hungry predator and Nick Didkovsky's guitar work sounds like Robert Fripp would after a month of living on nothing but Jack Daniels and raw steak. There are occasional quieter moments - the picture needs both light and shade in order to succeed - but even here the impression is of a tightly coiled spring; the phrase 'laid back' clearly meant nothing during these sessions. There's also a directness and urgency in evidence that is sometimes lacking in the dry intellectualism of bands like Forever Einstein.

Anyone who likes Massacre, Ruins or Thrakkattak style King Crimson will find much to enjoy on this album, and it can be recommended to any metal heads who may fancy dipping a toe into RIO/Avant prog. This is one to PLAY LOUD and let the sound reverberate inside your chest - you know it makes sense. Recommended.

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