Electric bassist/composer Hugh Hopper has long been on that cutting-edge nexus of the UK fusion scene - he was a longtime member of Soft Machine, a late 1960s-late 70s band which started out somewhat psychedelic (the Kevin Ayers era) and went on to be THE UK band combining (post-bop, avant) jazz and (progressive) rock. (Also, they were one of the first bands to incorporate minimalist music a la Steve Reich and Terry Riley). The Machine is no more, but they left lots of fine recordings and most alumni are still active, which brings us to Hopper’s latest opus on the CD-R label Burning Shed, Jazzloops. The sounds herein are appropriate to the title: amber-hued layered/textured repetition accomplished with tape loops and studio technology with jazz soloing over top and snappish, volatile funk undertones. But don’t think this is an ambient/warm ‘n’ fuzzy set of E-Z listening/space-out jazz. "Acloop" features Hopper’s wiry, snarling fuzz-toned bass over a loping semi-funky beat, and the funk quotient is progressively upped with stormy drumming and snaking horn work that sound like Rahssan Roland Kirk playing his reeds backwards on "Calmozart" and "1212." Sometimes Hopper sounds like he is channeling the echoes of Miles’ Agharta and Tony Williams’ Lifetime’s Turn It Over in a basement studio in an old house on a British Isle being pummeled by black sheets of rain in March.... not like that’s a bad thing, especially if you like your Fusion sounds caustic, aggressive and/or with (jagged) teeth. Mr. Hopper is keeping the original flames of Fusion (it was a feral, mistrusted thing at one time) burning.
Artist / Group Name:Hugh Hopper
Record Label:Burning Shed
Musicians:H.H.: bass, keyboards, guitar, voice, sampling; Elton Dean, Robert Wyatt, Didier Malherbe, John Marshall, Simon Picard; others.