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Album Review

by Jon Hopkins


Review Date
9th July 2013
Reviewed by
Paul Larsen

Jon Hopkins has always been a bit of a musical journeyman. The London based multi-genre producer and musician has previously supplied his talents to a varied collection of artists throughout his career, including collaborations and appearances with the likes of Imogen Heap, King Creosote, Brian Eno and Coldplay. But as varied as his employers have been its Hopkins’ solo electronic work which has promised so much. Fortunately for us, with the release of his fourth record, Immunity, he’s delivered big time.

Hopkins has a longstanding talent for hearing music in everything around him and the album opens with the sound of disembodied footsteps and jangling keys leading us in from the cold. The chattering of the keys is looped and folded effortlessly into the first track ‘We Disappear’ and just a few stuttering bass drops later we’re sucked into the album for good. Ostensibly, Immunity is the retelling of a legendary night on the town and second track, ‘Open Eye Signal’ with its jagged beats and schizophrenic bass would have no trouble filling any decent dance floor.

After the trance-like build up and release of ‘Breathe This Air’, the belligerent and flirty techno beat of ‘Collider’ punctuates the peak of the evening’s high with a relentless, high-energy rhythm. These are more than a simple pastiche of dance songs used to further the albums ‘story’ though; these are genuinely well crafted, dynamic tracks which can be enjoyed in isolation just as much as part of the record.

From here, the album winds down through several false endings – each slightly more fatigued than the last. As the euphoria leaves the record and the BPM decelerates we start to hear elements of Bonobo (‘Sun Harmonics’) and even Sigor Rós (‘Immunity’) but it remains impossible to pigeon-hole the album into any particular sound. Title track, ‘Immunity’ is the last song and effectively the sunrise on our night out. Featuring the vocals of King Creosote floating above a remorseful piano, this is an elegant track reminiscent of the pair’s 2011 Diamond Mine EP. Listen carefully here and muted echoes of the night’s earlier thumping bass-lines can be heard reverberating through the album’s final moments.

It’s the nuance and humanity of moments like this which really elevate this record throughout. It’s not difficult to make an electronica record sound good but to make it feel good as well is something rarely achieved. In creating an intelligent, warm and thoroughly engaging electronic record, Immunity achieves this masterfully and at the same time heralds Hopkins’ transition from journeyman to master.


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