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Numero D'Vol

Artist: Hugh Hopper

Date of Release: 21/08/2007

Catalogue no: MJR014

Label: MoonJune Records

Price: £9

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Track Listing

No

 

Title

Duration

1

listen

Numero D'Vol

9.23

2

 

On The Spot

8.53

3

listen

Earwigs Enter

4.17

4

 

Free Bee

6.01

5

 

Get That Tap

5.58

6

listen

Bootz

0.03

7

 

Shovelfeet

4.59

8

listen

Bees Knees Man

7.39

9

 

Straight Away

6.26

10

listen

Twilight

4.51

11

 

Some Other Time

2.37

 

 

 

 

HUGH HOPPER bass guitar
STEVE FRANKLIN keyboards
SIMON PICARD sax
CHARLES HAYWARD drums

UNCONVENTIONAL GROOVES FROM THE LEGENDARY SOFT MACHINE’s BASSIST HUGH HOPPER AND HIS LATEST PROJECT, NUMERO D’VOL. For those who think that spontaneously created music is inherently unapproachable, Numero D’Vol proves that it’s possible to be pull focused music from the ether that’s immediate and richly compelling. Saxophonist Simon Picard, keyboardist Steve Franklin and drummer Charles Hayward join Soft Machine Legacy’s Hopper for a session that also proves there’s plenty of room for a backbeat in extemporaneous music. Franklin’s synth washes, layered underneath his more oblique pianism, demonstrate that there’s space for contemporary textures and a touch of the ambient while Picard, a member of guitarist Phil Miller’s In Cahoots, brings an angular lyricism to this hour-long experiment in rhythm-based collective interaction.

 

Reviews

 

11/11/2007 STEVE ROBERTS, ZNR MUSIC, USA

Hugh Hopper has put together one of the best improvising ensembles of his career. Here he is joined by keyboardist Steve Franklin, saxman Simon Picard and drummer Charles Hayward (of This Heat fame). The result is a cookin' set of improvised jazz/rock that is coherent and adventurous all in the same breath! Once again proof that Hopper is one of the finest musicians on the planet.

 

30/10/2007 SID SMITH - SID SMITH’S POSTCARD (SM IS ROCK/JAZZ/POLITICS/ARTS/MOVIES WRITER AND CONTRIBUTOR TO MOJO MAGAZINE, BC MAGAZINE AND

SOFTLY DOES IT...
Hugh Hopper knows enough about the worlds of improvisation and strict composition having been at the cutting edge of such things in the 60s and early 70s with Soft Machine and numerous jazz rock outfits since. This latest group improv project, featuring a fantastically on-form Simon Picard on saxes, sounds a remarkably arranged and considered affair. Whether this is the product of judicious editing after the fact or the telepathic talents gathered around the venerable bassist matters not. The smouldering title track opening the album sets the bar about as high as it could go. Grooves abound with some sterling though restrained work from ex-This Heat maestro, Charles Hayward, keeping things sprightly and his fellow band members on their toes. Picard’s deft playing is forever searching out nuances and inspired harmonic gambits around Hopper’s anchor and the textural adornments of Steve Franklin’s array of keyboards and synth-splashes. Group improvisation can always something of a hit and miss affair. By keeping to a kind of modal middle-ground, the ensemble’s hit rate is pretty high, resulting in some strongly assertive and melodic interplay. Hardcore improv-fans will want something more angular and adventurous but the record’s overall accessibility makes it a perfect primer for newcomers who’ve heard some Soft Machine and want to cautiously branch out.

 

10/10/2007 DUNCAN HEINING - JAZZWISE MAGAZINE< UK

“If born in 19th century, Hugh Hopper would have been a cartographer or topographer, an explorer of territory and definer of space. Not for him, the observer’s projections onto peoples and customs of anthropology. First and foremost, he makes music that charts landscapes, if it has an emotional aspect, it is in our reaction to it rather than in the places and attractions to which it takes us. In some ways, this is familiar territory and more a replotting of existing contours and valleys, yet it is also Hopper’s strongest record in years. He needs boundary-jumpers and sound scientists like Picard, Franklin and Hayward, who can make that necessary leap. And this is powerful, strong, robust music. Bass lines like unhurried rivers with his legendary fuzz swirling in eddies plot their course, while Picard’s muscular sax scales peaks and cliffs. Keyboards marks the changing seasons blowing across the plains and the drums count time passing. Even its abstractions are details not yet fully defined. This is Dartmoor, the Gobi, the Alps and the Indus valley. A great record for geographers everywhere.”

 

10/10/2007 CHRIS PARKER - VORTEX JAZZ, UK

Improvised jazz/rock with a dash of ambient music/minimalism, often set to a heavy but non-intrusive backbeat; this might be a relatively accurate description of the music on this compelling album, but it does little justice to the sheer visceral energy whipped up by the eleven tracks on it. Hopper deploys his fuzzy, hypnotic bass to stunning effect throughout these mesmerising jams, but Numero D'Vol is very much a group effort, setting Simon Picard's fruity, blowsy, richly textured tenor against an absorbing mix of keyboard washes and vigorous piano (Steve Franklin), alternately spacy/emphatic drumming (Charles Hayward), and electronic squirls and splurges of sound. Single lengthy tracks such as the eponymous opener and 'On the Spot' may incorporate a number of rhythms, textures and moods, shorter ones may dramatise a single musical element; whatever they're playing, though, this (to quote the apt words of the accompanying press release) 'hour-long experiment in rhythm-based collective improvisation' rivets the attention throughout. Recommended.

 

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