Hugh Hopper & Richard Sinclair — Somewhere in France
(Voiceprint VP133CD, 1996, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 1997-10-01
Voiceprint is still hard at work unearthing half completed projects and one off collaborations of which Somewhere in France fits nicely. Caravan and Hatfield vocalist and bassist Richard Sinclair had just completed work on Alan Gowen's last project, Before a Word Is Said (reviewed in #11). Hugh Hopper had also completed work with Gowen on Two Rainbows Daily and performed some additional improvised work with him (also reviewed this issue) before he passed away. Then the two members of the Wilde Flowers had also been threatening on working together for over ten years, but opportunity only knocked in 1983 for Hugh to invite Richard over to check out some songs he had written. The results are mixed, but endearing since all of Richard's songs come off little more than rough demos in need of some major shoring up (especially "Videos," which suffers from lyrical rambling). In fact versions included on Richard's solo albums are all better defined, though the Caravan auto-biographical piece, "Only the Brave" I still quite enjoy here in earlier form. It is the unreleased Hopper-penned pieces which are intriguing though. A lot more work was put into these tracks, especially with lyrics and arrangements where Hopper and other collaborators excel. "Long Lingers Autumn Time" starts off with Richard's choirboy vocals and changes into a memorable vocal line over Hugh's imposing fuzz bass. "Potted History" tells a tale of Richard and Hugh's parallel musical history. "Cruising the Eastern Sky," "Solidarity," and the acoustic "Colin-A-Dell" all make the disc well worth adding to your now oversized Canterbury collection.
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more