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Hopper, Hugh: 1984

I understand as well as the next guy the desire to rummage in the past and find the little gems that have been overlooked. Part of any such exploration is the importance of not judging too quickly: when dealing with recordings that are very old, one must remember to look kindly at the chain of development which led to later works, a chain in which you are examining one of the rawer, less mature links.

All that said, it is an enigma why Cuneiform would want to rerelease Hugh Hopper's 1984, a monotonous exercise in semi-random noises that couldn't possibly reflect positively on anyone's career at any stage.

The problem with 1984 is that there is so very little on it that can accurately be called "music"; for the most part, it is a dreary and lifeless sound effects record with only a handful of places where one note leads to another. Of course, the time in which it was written (written? not much composition here...perhaps "generated" is a better word) must be taken into account: tape loops were a new thing, and folks like Hopper were busy experimenting to their hearts content.

But none of this perspective makes 1984 an album worth listening to. Hopper, of course, was the bassman for Soft Machine, and SM collectors will no doubt want to own this, if for no other reason than thoroughness. But I'm guessing that that will be the limit of it's appeal.

Added: January 1st 2004
Reviewer: SoT Archives
Hits: 2746
Language: english

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