Hugh Hopper 1945 – 2009

Posted by Whitmore, June 10, 2009 07:09pm | Post a Comment
When I was about 13 years old I became a regular customer at Platypus Records on Hollywood Blvd about a half a block east of Vermont in Hollywood. It was all about their inexpensive used records. I still spent a small fortune from money I earned the old fashioned way; recycling cans and bottles, mowing lawns and stealing money from my mom’s purse. I found great records for pennies. And one that left an indelible mark on my rookie ears was the Soft Machine album, Volume Two, released in 1969 and featuring Robert Wyatt on drums and vocals, Mike Ratledge on piano and Hammond organ, Brian Hopper on saxophone and Hugh Hopper on bass and guitars. I think I paid 99 cents for the album.
When I bought that record all I knew about Soft Machine was that they were part of some mysterious and legendary English Canterbury music scene, they hung out with Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd and once toured the US as an opening act for Jimi Hendrix. Volume Two is still one of my all time favorite records. Over the years I’ve worn out more than a few copies.
This past Monday, idiosyncratic composer, art-rock bassist extraordinaire, veteran of some two dozen diverse solo albums and Soft Machine member, Hugh Hopper, succumbed to his year long battle with leukemia. He was 64.
In his years before Soft Machine, Hugh Colin Hopper, born April 29, 1945 in Canterbury, Kent, found himself immersed in the burgeoning Canterbury scene and emerging bands like Gong, Hatfield and the North and Henry Cow. In the mid sixties he was working with Daevid Allen and Robert Wyatt in the Daevid Allen Trio. That band evolved into the Wilde Flowers, an almost mythic pop and soul band consisting of his brother Brian, Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers and Richard Sinclair that spun off into two influential progressive rock groups, Caravan and Soft Machine.
Hopper joined Soft Machine in 1968 after their tour with Hendrix, contributed two compositions to their first self titled album, recorded in New York. Their sophomore release saw Hopper not only adding his virtuoso bass work to the mix but also composing half the tracks. He would remain with Soft Machine through 1973 and the album entitled 6. About the time Soft Machine was moving from a psychedelic, progressive rock sound into more of a jazz/fusion outfit, Hopper departed, recording his classic solo record 1984 at about the same time. His first effort was a decidedly non-commercial adventure filled with avant-garde soundscapes, tape loops, and free improvisation.
After his stint with Soft Machine, and in between his own solo projects, Hopper worked with some of the most original musicians of the last thirty years; Carla Bley, Keith Tippett, Robert Wyatt, Elton Dean, Pip Pyle, Stomu Yamashta, Phil Miller, Lol Coxhill, Allan Holdsworth, Chris Cutler, Yumi Hara Cawkwell and bands like Gilgamesh, Isotope and Soft Heap. In 2002 Hopper began a new association with several former Soft Machine members. Originally named Soft Works, they later renamed the reunion Soft Machine Legacy; besides touring extensively throughout Europe and Asia, they’ve also released four CD’s, two studio and two live recordings.
After his diagnoses last summer with leukemia, a benefit concert was held for him at London's 100 Club in December, featuring friends and many of his legendary musical collaborators from all phases of his career.
Just two days before his death he married his longtime companion Christine.


Posted by Billyjam, June 10, 2009 04:26pm | Post a Comment

This year marks the 60 year anniversary of the seven inch single, the 45rpm record that was originally introduced by RCA Records back in 1949 with the release of Eddy Arnold's double sided mono record, "Texarkana Baby" b/w "Bouquet of Roses."

The then new format, at first treated by many with a degree of suspicion, was embraced by RCA as a more compact and more durable replacement for the heavy 78rpm shellac-based records -- the ones known as wax records that would break into many pieces if dropped on the ground.

After witnessing the success of this new format for RCA, Columbia Records followed suit two years later in 1951 and from there demand just snowballed into the sixties and seventies and eighties by which time the format began to lose momentum. There have been several interesting articles written about the 45rpm's 60th birthday, including a wonderful piece written by Robert Benson published on the website JustPressPlay this week which traced the format's history and also noted how, "British trade journals have been reporting that single song 45rpm records are now outselling their CD counterparts and how many American bands are now releasing music via this historic audio medium."

A visit to Amoeba Music in Berkeley, San Francisco, or Hollywood, where there are boxes and boxes and wall displays of 45's (new and old), will also quickly confirm that the once seen as deceased 45rpm is very much alive and well. As you know, vinyl in general (45rpm's, 10" records, 12" singles, and vinyl albums) has been going through a renaissance in recent years.

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Motel Hell w/ Special Guests at the New Beverly Cinema

Posted by phil blankenship, June 10, 2009 03:38pm | Post a Comment

Ryan Rotten and Phil Blankenship
proudly present MIDNIGHT SHOCK!

Motel Hell screenwriters Robert Jaffe & Steven-Charles Jaffe IN PERSON, schedule permitting, to discuss the movie!

Friday June 12


It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent fritters.

New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
11:59pm, All Tickets $7

June 9, 2009

Posted by phil blankenship, June 9, 2009 08:04pm | Post a Comment
Drag Me To Hell Movie Ticket Stub Arclight Cinemas Hollywood
Arclight Hollywood Drag Me To Hell

Drag Me To Hell poster


Posted by Billyjam, June 9, 2009 07:44pm | Post a Comment
Los Angeles'  Troublemaker is one hardworking & talented producer/DJ. Born Josh Kouzomis, the artist has been honing his skills since the early 1990s when he started out as a college radio DJ and music director while at school in Ohio. After leaving college and returning to LA, he got an internship at punk label Epitaph Records where he gained invaluable inside music business and production experience.

This led to him co-founding the hip-hop/drum'n'bass label Celestial Recordings in 1998. Fast forward into the beginning of this decade and Troublemaker joined forces with fellow producer/DJ talent E. Moss to form the Backyard Bangers, whose eponymous debut track was a collaboration with Z-Trip on the Constant Elevation compilation from 2002 on Astralwerks. The Backyard Bangers released several wonderful recordings, including the CDs Get That Shit Outta Here, Pardon My French, and Spunkbubble, all through the Hollyrock label. Their great song “Road of Good Intentions” appeared on the Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. V.

As a solo recording artist & performer Troublemaker has remained incredibly prolific. He's toured with Z-Trip, recorded lots of original tracks, and done many more remixes of music by a wide variety of artists including Bonde do Role, Justice, Johnny Cash, Linkin Park, and Peter Bjorn & John. Download his inspired remix of their infectious hit "Nothing to Worry About" featuring Adam Tensta, U-N-I and The 87 Stick Up Kids on his website. Also there  you can check out Troublemaker's impressive discography including tons of remix projects. 

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