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Carousel

Hugh Hopper Band

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Album Review

The Hugh Hopper Band has been the ex-Soft Machine bassist's most fusion-oriented outfit of the 1990s. Carousel was the band's second release for the Cuneiform label (the first was Meccano Pelorus in 1991, but they also recorded for Ponk and Voiceprint) and their first and only studio venture. The album opens with a very straightforward number, "Shuffle Demons," maybe Hopper's most mainstream composition ever. The reggae feel of "Sinister Toilet" pursues in the same positive direction. Guitarist Patrice Meyer contributes one of the most interesting pieces, "Carousel": out of chaos rises a cyclic riff sped up and constantly transposed into a higher register, giving the impression of a carousel turning faster and faster. Things get freer and darker on two collective improvisations, but the overall feeling of the album is best epitomized by "Lock, Stock and Barrel": it starts on an almost fanfare-like theme that eventually leaves to make room for a swinging tune with Caribbean overtones and an inspired solo by guest trombonist Robert Jarvis. Carousel is a "feel-good" fusion album. Nothing is very complicated, the licks stay catchy, but the result lacks the intensity found in Hopper-era Soft Machine or the bassist's later project Hughscore. It might be Hopper's most accessible release. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Biography

Born: 29 April 1945 in Canterbury, Kent, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Hugh Hopper was best known as the electric bassist for Soft Machine during the band's most creative and critically acclaimed period, but his musical career extended far beyond his time spent with that particular group. He arguably manifested the Canterbury scene's progressive spirit — at least on the instrumental side of the equation — longer than any other musician, from the late '60s through to nearly the end of the new millennium's first decade, a period spanning over 40 years, although...
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Carousel, Hugh Hopper Band
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