announcement that a new Hugh Hopper CD was to be released made me curious.
And my curiosity only increased when I read that the title of the new
CD was Jazzloops. The CD is burnt on demand: you pay, they burn, you
get the record. Right. The CD cover shows the (bare) essential informations,
with the players names - some are the usual suspects (Elton Dean, John
Marshall, Robert Wyatt, Didier Malherbe), while some aren't (Pierre-Olivier
Govin, Kim Weemhoff) - being mentioned only collectively.
album's climates will obviously be pretty familiar to those who have
listened a few times to this bassist and composer during his very long
career. But this time Hopper appears to have fun in confounding at least
some of the listener's expectations. His fuzz bass and those unmistakable
melodic progressions immediately reveal the identity of the composer
of Afrik and Acloop, while in other instances it's a bit more difficult
to guess who we are listening to (and that's not necessarily a bad thing).
The loops' repetitive atmosphere goes along well with the more conventional
instrumental touches, especially the saxophones, and the album mostly
succeeds, while managing to avoid pastiche.
sounds "current" but not "à la mode". Those
listeners who enjoy music as background will not demand their money
back (it's not impossible to imagine this CD giving "ambience"
to a trendy club), but Jazzloops definitely manages to sustain (and
reward) more concentrated listening sessions.
from this point on it's "only" a marketing issue. I still
remember my surprise when, about a couple of years ago, I listened to
an album by Nils Potter Molvær (Solid Ether) that a lot of the
press praised to the stars only to find a mediocre rehash of other people's
music. Here Hopper has only copied from himself.
Beppe Colli 2003
| Feb. 10, 2003