Hugh Hopper

Jazzloops

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    6
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AllMusic Review by

Drawn together from a variety of sessions recorded over 2001 and 2002 -- the guest list runs into the double digits, with such familiar friends and faces as Elton Dean and Robert Wyatt taking bows -- Jazzloops lives up to its title readily enough. Rather than keeping the various performances as they are -- both live jams and assembled studio efforts were used -- Hopper took everything and reassembled it in his own approach to a DJ mix set, at least of sorts. The tracks themselves aren't mixed together, but the primacy of core loops and various solos over them gives the album not only its title, but its intent. Given the collaborative nature of the album -- but since no performers beyond Hopper are specifically credited with any part in particular -- it makes for an interesting listen in context, more than one person's work, but not readily identifiable with anyone in particular, a faceless collective through and through. Hearing Hopper's work rotating around fairly straightforward rhythms or sounds may be a bit surprising, given his musical interests over the years, but then again Hopper has never been one to ignore the power of a more pop-tinged approach. The dark mood of Jazzloops is more than a little unsettling, and at points the threat level is amped up pretty well -- "Acloop" is a kissing cousin to Massive Attack's growling intensity circa Mezzanine, thanks to the combination of spindly and snarling guitars. More than a few songs are as minimal as they can get -- "Garrisoi," in particular, has extremely quiet, muffled vocals, and a slow three-note bass loop at its heart, along with a soft drift of echo and texture. There are a couple of relative misfires -- "Calmozart" is slow funk without much to offer, even with the squiggly voices -- but all in all Jazzloops both stands on its own and adds to a detailed legacy.