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Jon Hopkins - Singularity (Album Review)

Thursday, 10 May 2018 Written by Jacob Brookman

Photo: Steve Gullick

Historically, Jon Hopkins has been the kind of musician you come across at a festival and choose to pass by based on his tedious audience of hallucinating electro snobs - the kind of people who ‘shhh’ at a techno gig.

No more. His new album, ‘Singularity’, is an intense opus of incredible innovation and intellect that deserves to take its place in the top canon of recent electronica, alongside Jamie xx’s ‘In Colour’ and Bonobo’s ‘Migration’. Those electro-snobs may be onto something after all.

Standouts moments here include Emerald Rush and the remarkable Everything Connected, which combines glassy ambience with a detuned and degrading synth riff.

This track - which is 10 minutes long - opens with the riff and as we drop into a kind of two-step beat, we are joined by gloriously complex and textured synths that feel like breathing.

As with other EDM tracks on ‘Singularity’, Hopkins basically retains the same beat, and switches up different reverbs and effects to keep the track moving. The result is a composition that holds a deep primitivism despite relentlessly shifting and innovating.

That said, this is an album of varying tones. Feel First Live and Echo Dissolve are still pieces that give the album spacious breakwaters amid the crashing beats. These are minimal piano-led tracks, and Feel First Live marginally edges the latter, with ghostly voices that arrive from nowhere and murmur seemingly endless, wordless phrases.

As a piece of composition and production, ‘Singularity’ is remarkable, but it is as a set of musical concepts that opens up distance from Hopkins’ other work. The album is designed to mirror a psychedelic experience, while its basic structure is 15 years old and something he only now felt ready to tackle.

Hopkins originally wanted each musical sound to emerge from what came before - as a kind of continuous concept album - but apparently became frustrated with the lack of spontaneity such a method prescribed. No matter: this approach might have made the album a more interesting electronica case study, but it’s difficult to see that it would have improved such beguiling, thought provoking music.

Jon Hopkins Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu October 18 2018 - DUBLIN Vicar Street
Fri October 19 2018 - GLASGOW SWG3 Galvanizers
Fri November 02 2018 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Sat November 03 2018 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Sat November 17 2018 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Boilers Shop
Thu November 22 2018 - MANCHESTER Albert Hall

Click here to compare & buy Jon Hopkins Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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