Of the many recordings electric bass guitarist Hugh Hopper has produced over three decades since leaving Soft Machine, this one might be the bravest and most distinctly innovative and atmospheric of his career. With the bassist teamed with keyboardist and vocalist Yumi Hara Cawkwell, the paradox of a hot, steamy desert caravan as opposed to cold and bleak deep space is somehow conjured and realized. While Cawkwell has an ethereal quality to her wordless vocals and a free sense of spatial time, Hopper uses his typical probing basslines and mixes them up with sharply framed electronic passages and the kind of forsaken, foreboding imagery heard in the most macabre movie soundtracks. "Long Dune," somewhat based on the 1922 text Sunayama, has the patient and cascading piano of Cawkwell alongside Hopper's bass in a most evocative and unhurried pace, with "Circular Dune" in a repeated mode, playful and childlike, while "Distant Dune" has a rickety piano sound offset by scary layered and edgy synthesizer in a purposeful disconnect. Aeronautic phrasings couched in wordless vocals during "Seki No Gohonmatsu" (Five Pine Trees of Seki) create a clearly pungent reflection, a religious organ during "Awayuki I" and "Awayuki II" extends in a wispy electronic baptism, while backwards loops with Hopper's signature hard-edged legato sound lead to some actual unison playing (perhaps all Hopper overdubbed) for a quite interrogative, provocative, and certainly dramatic move on "Futa." More loops rivet "Hopeful Impressions of Happiness" with Cawkwell's oohs and ahhs leading to singing lines referencing the sentiment of "be careful what you wish for." Full-blown sky church electronic declarations à la Hopper's bandmate in Soft Machine, Mike Ratledge, identify "Scattered Forest," although the spare electric bass and the traipsing piano of Cawkwell add to the infinite contrasts these two generally conceive. A strange and wonderful confluence of modernity, scientific experimentation, and futuristic vision, this may very well be Hugh Hopper's most challenging recording date since his epic 1984, and a coming out for the intriguing ideas proffered by Cawkwell.
Performance CreditsHUMI Primary Artist
Hugh Hopper Bass Guitar,electronics
Yumi Hara Cawkwell Percussion,Keyboards,Vocals
Technical CreditsHugh Hopper Composer,Producer,Loop
Brian Hopper Composer
Leonardo Pavkovic Graphic Design
Yumi Hara Cawkwell Composer,Producer,Engineer