Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"Those of you out there who miss those thrilling daze of yesteryear when "Fusion" was edgy, exciting & unpredictable? When the prospect of a new Miles, Mahavishnu or Herbie Hancock album filled you with excitement instead of skepticism? Not to mention the selected works of Zappa, the Soft Machine, Embryo, Charlie Mariano.... now you're probably ashamed to say you dig "Fusion" in public, for fear of people thinking you're into that mewling twaddle (or "jazzak," if you prefer) that sounds like 3AM-bad-movie-HBO-music. (Or "Quiet Storm.") To you fusioneers & prog-rock heads, this new album by Hughscore will be a tonic. The band features Hugh Hopper, former bassist for Soft Machine, a band that pushed the envelope (from the so-called "rock" side) a lot more than most of its US counterparts. His bass sound is fuzzed-out, rippling & visceral. The tunes "Robohop" & "Based On" recall the shifting textures of late 60s/early 70s Miles Davis & Tony Williams, but in a far more "compact" and somewhat more conventionally melodic/harmonic package. Also on hand to lend a delicious flavor to savor is the Sheila Jordan-like voice of Elaine di Falco, who not incidentally plays well the richly atmospheric keys. (She shines like Les McCann did on his album Layers on the soothing closer "Tokitae.") Delta Flora features superb hornwork from Dave Carter (trumpet) & Elton Dean (alto sax, also a former member of Soft Machine & a killer bandleader/composer himself - his CD Nunsense [SLAM] with Roswell Rudd is a joy to behold). Just when Hughscore makes you think you're on the way to la-la land, they thrust you into The Twilight Zone." -JazzReview
Alternative Press (10/99, pp.92,94) - 4 out of 5 - "...a mixture of funk, straight-ahead jazz and rock, with a splash of avant-noise and even a pop presence....The program is enhanced by some solid guest spots from saxes, trumpet, flute, trombone and pedal-steel guitar."
The Wire (8/99, p.59) - "...a loping, liquid piece submerged in a warm instrumental mist....diffuse - it is impressionistic space-fusion music where songs expand into movements, the length of which are justified by their textural variations."
Hughscore: Elaine DiFalco (vocals, accordion, Wurlitzer & Fender Rhodes pianos, Vox organ, synthesizer); Fred Chalenor (guitar, bass); Hugh Hopper (bass); Tucker Martine (drums, percussion).
Additional personnel: Jon Hyde (pedal steel guitar); Chrystelle Blanc-Lanaute (flute); Elton Dean (alto saxophone); Craig Flory (tenor saxophone); Dave Carter (trumpet); Robert Jarvis (trombone).
Engineers: Tucker Martine, Julian Whitfield.
Recorded at Flora Avenue Studio, Seattle, Washington and Delta Studio, Chartham, Canterbury, England between September 1997 and September 1998.
Personnel: Elaine di Falco (vocals, accordion, Fender Rhodes piano, Wurlitzer organ, synthesizer); Fred Chalenor (guitar); Elton Dean (alto saxophone); Craig Flory (tenor saxophone); Dave Carter (trumpet); Robert Jarvis (trombone); Tucker Martine (drums, percussion).
Recording information: Dleta Studio, Chartham Centerbury (09/1997-09/1998); Flora Avenue Studio, Seattle, WA (09/1997-09/1998).
DELTA FLORA is the third album by Hughscore (previously called Caveman Shoestore). The band pairs British bassist Hugh Hopper (Soft Machine) with the Seattle-based trio of bassist/guitarist Fred Chalenor, keyboardist/singer Elaine di Falco, and drummer Tucker Martine. The tandem and contrasting basses are used to shimmering effect, with Hopper's characteristic fuzztones sounding as lush as ever.
The band again revisits an old Soft Machine number. "Was a Friend" opens the set, and di Falco retains every bit of the mystery and allure of Robert Wyatt's lyrics. She also sings on four other vocal numbers with equally compelling results. Hopper wrote the bulk of the material, and these are some of the most gorgeous songs he's penned in 25 years. Instrumental delights abound, with "Spacelift" displaying Hopper's hypnotic way with layered and repeated melodies. Guest musicians include pedal-steel player Jon Hyde and a handful of horn players, among them another Soft Machine alumnus, alto saxophonist Elton Dean.