Bass guitarist Hugh Hopper has died at the age of 64, it was announced yesterday. The Kent-born musician is best known as the bass player in Soft Machine which he joined in 1968. He remained with them until 1972 but later became an important part of Soft Machine Legacy which has toured the world in recent years.
Before Soft Machine Hopper worked with Daevid Allen and Robert Wyatt in the Daevid Allen Trio before forming the Wilde Flowers joined by his brother Brian, Wyatt, Kevin Ayers and Richard Sinclair. But it was with Wyatt, Allen, Ayers and also Mike Ratledge that he was to make his mark on the history of progressive rock and forward-looking jazz-influenced psychedelic groups of the period and since with his innovative fuzz-bass sound.
After Soft Machine, Hopper worked with a range of groups including the influential Gilgamesh and Isotope and began an association with free jazz saxophonist Elton Dean who joined Soft Machine in 1969. Later important collaborations also included work with the late Pip Pyle, Phil Miller’s In Cahoots and since 2002 with Soft Works which later became Soft Machine Legacy. Hopper had been suffering from leukaemia in recent years.
NOTE: Hopper has also worked with Syd Barrett, and toured with Jimi Hendrix.
This strange track was his last recording with the progressive rock/jazz/psych group Soft Machine. All the fuzzy bass and sound effects were his. It's interesting that although the piano sounds almost completely random, it is actually completely written out (as you can tell by the band being completely in synch with the accents). This 'song' sounds like the soundtrack to an unreleased future horror movie, and was his jumping-off point to his first solo album, "1984". He later joined jazz-rock groups Isotope, Gilgamesh, and Soft Heap.
Song : "1983" by Soft Machine (written by Hugh Hopper)
From the LP "SIX" (CBS/Columbia) 1973
Hugh Hopper : bass
Mike Ratledge : organ, electric piano, grand piano
John Marshall : drums, percussion
Karl Jenkins : electric piano, grand piano
Get it here : 1983