Hopper, Hugh - Volume 7: Soft Boundaries

SKU 28-GZO249.2
Subtitled "Hugh & Mike's compositions brought to life", this is recordings from two shows that were part of the Tritonales Festival in Les Lilas, France in June 2004 and 2005. I was at the 2004 show and can attest as to how great it was. Also, apropos Aymeric's notes, Cuneiform had contracted to do the 2nd Soft Bounds album, but Elton died just before we were to send the money for them to go into the studio and record it, so this release has double interest and also double pathos for me personally. Recommended with a tear in my eye.

This is the seventh of a ten part series compiled by the late Mike King. He's enlisted Hugh's personal archive, as well as the archives of friends of Hugh's. Mike says, "I've been tasked with compiling a series of CD releases celebrating the life and legacy of the late Hugh Hopper and the process has been an education in his kaleidoscopic musical world. From Hugh's private archive, and additional contributions from his friends (most especially Aymeric) I have selected a wide range of high quality concert and studio recordings, none of which have ever been released nor heard publicly. You're in for a treat."

"When Soft Bounds formed in 2004, it was a reunion of sorts for most of those involved, as Hugh Hopper, Elton Dean and Sophia Domancich had played together in the original line-up of Pip Pyle’s Equip’Out from 1984 to 1987. But while Elton and Sophia had kept in touch (as documented on the second Equip’Out album, Elton’s excellent 1995 album Silent Knowledge and the duo release Avant), Hugh and Sophia hadn’t shared a stage in over fifteen years when an alliance was suggested between the two ex-Soft Machinists and Sophia’s existing duo with drummer Simon Goubert. As with SoftWorks, the quartet Elton and Hugh had formed in 2002 with Allan Holdsworth and John Marshall, the ‘Soft Machine revival’ aspect was never intended to be the main focus of the project, and all four members did bring recent (though not previously unrecorded) material to the table. This only left room for two Softs classics, although taken together they amounted to nearly forty minutes. Only “Kings And Queens“ from Fourth was included on the live CD taken from the quartet’s inaugural gig, and the epic “Slightly All The Time“ from Third was thus left out, to the disappointment of many for whom it had been the high point of the whole performance.
Ten years later, the opportunity has come with the present series to finally right that particular wrong. This CD even includes not one but two versionsof“SlightlyAllTheTime“,whichmeritsawordofexplanation.By the time of the 2005 recording, Elton Dean was in poor health (he, sadly, would pass away early the following year) and fellow saxophonist Jean- Michel Couchet was drafted in to replace him. He did get to play the Marseilles date, but Elton was feeling well enough the following day to play, and Couchet only appeared as a special guest. The resulting two-saxophone version of “Slightly All The Time“ is interesting in that it is even more faithful to Mike Ratledge’s original arrangement, written for the quintet line-up with both Dean and Lyn Dobson and only briefly performed at the time (Dean double-tracked his alto on the studio version to recreate the effect).
Rounding out this CD with a perfect symmetrical effect are two Hopper tunes from his classic 1977 album Hopper Tunity Box, “The Lonely Sea And The Sky” and “Spanish Knee”, with Elton reprising his role on the original versions.
Sadly Soft Bounds came too late to perform more than a handful of gigs before Elton’s passing. Its premature demise was all the more deplorable as a second album was in the works, for which new material had been written, of which only Hugh’s “1212” saw the light of day, on Soft Machine Legacy’s eponymous debut release. At least with the present release the body of 1970s material performed by them is now complete."-Aymeric Leroy
  • LabelGonzo
  • UPC5060230864549
Your Price $17.00

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