Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Progobit: Hugh Hopper

The bassist for Soft Machine, Hugh Hopper, has died.

Born in Canterbury on the day between the deaths of Mussolini and Hitler, Hopper played his bass alongside Robert Wyatt through a number of bands, before the Soft Machine line-up came together in 1968. Orginally, Hopper's role had been to manage the Machine but - having missed out on the band's Hendrix support tour - he picked up the bass.

Hopper remained with the band until 1973, but even before he quit, he had released a solo album - 1984.

Apart from a couple of years break in the mid-1980s, Hopper remained active musically until his diagnosis with leukemia last year - moving effortlessly from prog to jazz and, in 2002's partial Soft Machine reunion Soft Machine Legacy, back again. A dizzying list of acts he played with, or founded, includes Hopper Goes Dutch, In Cahoots, Soft Bounds, Caveman Shoestore and HUMI - but there were many, many others.

Hopper married his partner, Christine, on June 5th; he died on June 7th. His last solo album, Dune, was released last year.