wed 17/10/2018

CD: Jon Hopkins - Singularity | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Jon Hopkins - Singularity

CD: Jon Hopkins - Singularity

Dazzling rollercoaster of an inner journey

Man's place within infinity

Jon Hopkins navigates the territory between avant-garde electronic and beat-driven dance music with brilliance. There’s plenty here to make you want to get up and move, but as much to persuade you lie down and let the symphony of textures and timbres open you ears and take you on an inner adventure.

Hopkins claims that his 2013 album “Immunity” was an MDMA trip, while this new one evokes the rollercoaster of an out-and-out psychedelic experience. Hardly surprising then that this isn’t a party album, and even less background music. While there are moments of irresistible sweetness and stillness, there are also excursions way out of the comfort zone – indeed much as might happen with acid or the more natural mind-blast of mushrooms. As Hopkins suggests, there’s a lot to be said for listening to “Singularity” in one uninterrupted go. He’s classically-trained, and the structure of the piece is something like a suite of dances in different tempos and moods, with at times smooth and almost imperceptible transitions and abrupt transformations at others. There are thick swathes of roaring bass that tear into your viscera, and moments of such stillness that you can hardly believe them.

Transformation is what it’s all about – this is a healing trip of sorts, inspired by Hopkins own spiritual journeys over the last few years: time in the desert, Tibetan Tummo breathing techniques that produce a kind of inner fire, and a great deal of meditation. As during a chemically-induced trip, forms are in endless metamorphosis, and Hopkins’ command of the versatile and highly sophisticated software that is Ableton enables him to move seamlessly from one music texture to another, from electronic to human voice, from high-pitched shimmer to ecstatic angelic drone. The listener’s reference points are endlessly called into question as Hopkins breaks your expectations, with asymmetrical polyrhythms and key changes that go against the grain, all to resolve in the same calming stillness that launches the album, but now with echo-laden piano, an evocation of peace and redemption, beautifully combined with the distant night-time eeriness of a gently hooting Scop’s owl.

Transformation is what it’s all about – this is a healing trip of sorts

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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