Parabolic Versions

Hugh Hopper

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Parabolic Versions Review

by Fran├žois Couture

Released in late 2000, Parabolic Versions collects previously released songs by Hugh Hopper plus four tracks never heard before. With the critical praise surrounding recent Hopper albums like Hughscore's Delta Flora and the Hopper/Lisa S. Klossner duo's Different and Cryptids, one can understand why Voiceprint gathered more songs from the same source. The first eight tracks are taken from the mid-'90s releases Somewhere in France, Hooligan Romantics, and Hugh Hopper and Odd Friends. These feature Richard Sinclair, John Atkins, and Mike Travis on vocals. The next three pieces are unreleased material with Klossner and the last one is the first version of "Was a Friend" with Robert Wyatt (different from the one found on his CD Shleep). "C'Est Grace" uses the same musical accompaniment with completely different lyrics and melody by Atkins. The album's best moments include "Long Lingers Autumn Time," "The Moon in a Bottle," and "The Painter's Birthday," but by no means should Parabolic Versions be considered an essential Hopper CD. Driven by a cheap drum machine, tracks like "Indeterminacy" and "Iron Lady" (yes, on Margaret Thatcher's regime) have aged poorly. The composer's typical dark and dreamy mood is present on most songs, hesitating between uncertain nightmare and melancholia, and fans and collectors will find this collection of interest. Newcomers should begin with something more substantial.

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