I’m really only familiar with Jon Hopkins through his stellar work with King Creosote, including their excellent Diamond Mine, but this London born musician has had a really fascinating journey into the world of electronica. From the age of twelve until seventeen Hopkins studied piano at the Royal College of Music in London entering competitions where his performances of Ravel and Stravinsky earned him prize money. He would eventually use that money to buy his first Roland synth and embark on a different musical path.
Since then he has had a varied career, playing keyboards and handling samples for Imogen Heap, releasing four previous solo albums and scoring major Hollywood movies like Gareth Edwards’ Monsters. Hell, he’s even remixed a couple of David Lynch’s musical efforts!
Singularity is a more laid-back affair than its immediate predecessor Immunity, beginning with subdued arpeggios that give way to the bell-like piano, chunky beats and angelic vocals of second track, Emerald Rush. Things start to get really interesting with Neon Pattern Drum, with its beautiful granular synths that seem to break up like waves on a beach, giving way to lo-fi drums and eighties sounding bleeps and bloops.
This is all leading up to Singularity’s cornerstone track, Everything Connected, a piece of music that its creator describes as a “massive techno b*st**d” (which coincidentally was the name I used to wrestle under in the early 2000s). With its insistent, incessant, unvarying central hook, Everything Connected manages to be simultaneously trippy and swaggering, a near-perfect track.
My only major niggle with Singularity is that I could really live without the vocals. When they return for Feel First Live I get the sense that I’m watching a Ridley Scott film rather than enjoying an album, and it takes me out of the listening experience. Things are soon back on track with Echo Dissolve, which sees Hopkins past classical life resurfacing through its Chopin-esque piano melodies, and then this immersive album ends on exactly the same note as it began with the elegiac Recovery. If you are anything like me, you’ll want to confirm this by immediately listening to the album again.
Singularity is out now on Domino Records.