Release Date: Jun 4, 2013
Record label: Domino
Genre(s): Electronic, Techno, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Club/Dance, Experimental Techno, Ambient Techno, IDM
Jon Hopkins may be far from a household name but the odds that those unfamiliar with him have heard his work are fairly high. In the past decade he has proven to be a bit of a renaissance man, from contributing to Coldplay’s last two albums to composing the fantastic electronic score for 2010’s sleeper hit film Monsters. He is perhaps best known for the Mercury Prize-nominated Diamond Mine, a collaborative album which pitched his soundscapes and found sounds against Scottish folk singer King Creosote’s plaintive ruminations.
There's much to be said for quickfire production. Todd Terry once made an entire album in a day, and with modern production software it's perfectly possible to turn a morning spark of inspiration into something club-ready that evening. And yet, sometimes it pays to take things slowly, as Coldplay collaborator, Eno protégé and piano prodigy Jon Hopkins proves to sublime effect on his fourth album, Immunity, which is the product of nearly nine months locked away in an East London studio.
Taking its deserved place at the top of the UK albums chart, Disclosure’s Settle seems to be on an inevitable course to becoming the definitive electronic soundtrack to the summer of 2013. But while Disclosure use electronic music to evoke the nostalgic ideal of summer, Jon Hopkins’ sublime Immunity plays out like the more sober reality of the season. It’s rich, enrapturing and wholly at home within a sweltering context – but it leaves the space to acknowledge that the nights get just as dark as during winter, and that our anxieties are ultimately just as present.
Jon HopkinsImmunity[Domino; 2013]By Brendan Frank; June 25, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGAs a music fan, there are few feelings that do more to validate wading through all of the muck than a genuine breakthrough. Wimbledon export Jon Hopkins’ career has been a series of baby steps, beginning with his debut Opalescent in 2001. From there he worked his way up, releasing follow-ups, collaborating with the likes of Coldplay and Brian Eno, and collaborating with King Creosote on the Mercury-nominated Diamond Mine in 2011.
Jon Hopkins is a respected keyboardist and sonic technician who instills ambient music and acidic techno with a classical sense of composition, but he tends to work around the edges of things: He got started backing Imogen Heap. He's played keyboards for Brian Eno, a clear influence, on albums such as Small Craft on a Milk Sea. Tagging along with Eno, he wound up co-producing and performing on Coldplay's fourth album.
It was fitting that Jon Hopkins made his first major imprint on the national consciousness alongside Kenny Anderson. For a while their back catalogues are sonically disparate, the pair mirroring one another in other, striking ways. Anderson, mostly under his nom de plume King Creosote, has dozens of solo albums. And while Hopkins’ oeuvre may be less vast, he’s spent the last few years project hopping – from production desk to recording studio, laying down a host of exemplary remixes along the way.
Review Summary: The sound of adventure itself, frozen within a still frame.There isn't much blatant meaning one can pull from “Open Eye Signal"'s official music video. It features a kid in Arizona skateboarding the day away, passing from one landscape to the next as if all the most diverse terrains of America have become inexplicably concentrated in a tiny stretch of land. And in this sense, the video differs from the song in that it goes through detectable shifts-- the song itself, if accurately recreated in a similar video, would be a far more predictable journey to behold, an indeterminate span of desert sands.
A late-night introduction to UK electronic musician Jon Hopkins's new LP didn't immediately reveal why there's been so much critical hype. However, listening the next day with the volume cranked immediately proved the buzz wasn't misplaced. Much of Immunity's power comes from the sheer physicality of the intricate sound design; it needed a loud subwoofer to come alive.
Londoner Jon Hopkins is best known for his collaborative work with Brian Eno and Coldplay, but this is the fourth album of an impressive solo career that’s been bubbling away for more than a decade. Structured to resemble the peaks and troughs of an epic night out, the first half of ‘Immunity’ is a continuous build to the crunching nine-minute techno opus of ‘Collider’, before the second half winds down to the title track, which features the mollifying vocals of King Creosote, another frequent collaborator. ‘Immunity’ is expertly paced, and as good for coming down as it is for coming up.Barry Nicolson .
The critics who ranked Insides as one of the best electronic music albums of 2009 surely must be going nuts for Immunity, since it takes everything that was great about that album – its intricacy and spell-casting abilities – and quadruples it within a much different and even more immediately appealing setting. There’s a ghostly quality to the whole album which speaks to Jon Hopkins’ ambient roots, much as the compositional strength of every track speaks to his education as a classical pianist. The album’s overall melodic sense reminds us that in between Insides and this, Hopkins released a marvelous collaboration with King Creosote, Diamond Mine, which turned his bittersweet, eccentric folk songs into moody, modern soundscapes.
The fourth solo album from Jon Hopkins (who, since 2009's Insides, has collaborated with Brian Eno and scored the British sci-fi hit Monsters) lasts exactly an hour but feels much longer. This isn't a criticism: in eight vivid, atmospheric tracks, Immunity captures the feel of an epic night out. It begins, on We Disappear, with mounting excitement that tips over, on Collider, into anxiety.
From the opening moment we hear the door unlock to Jon Hopkins' East London studio, a penetrating kick drum enters, marking the start of a striking evolution in his sound. For his fourth solo album, the UK-based prodigy brings forward his accomplished compositional past into an environment that heavily favours the dance floor. The result is both heartfelt and dynamic, which is in part a conscious effort by Hopkins to incorporate a number of human elements into the record.
Across producer Jon Hopkins’ back catalog, only four tracks exist that extend beyond seven minutes — three of which can be found at the tail end of 2009’s Seven Gulps of Air EP. A cavalcade of electro-acoustic productions following his work with Coldplay, the EP contained a broad splash of Hopkins’s abilities over a short tracklist, from the ambience of “Drifting Down” to the unbridled IDM within the title track. Since then, Hopkins has shied away from elongated digital schizophrenia, choosing to concentrate on emotive minimalism.
Between Insides and its follow-up Immunity, Jon Hopkins worked with King Creosote on the charming Diamond Mine, which set the Scottish singer/songwriter's ruminations to backdrops that were half rustic folk and half evocative washes of sound. Immunity isn't nearly as acoustic as that collaboration was, but its gently breezy feel lingers on several of these songs: "Breathe This Air" expands from a pounding house rhythm into a roomy piano meditation that recalls Max Richter as much as Diamond Mine, while the title track -- which happens to feature King Creosote's vocals -- closes the album on a whispery note. This feeling extends to the rest of the album in less obvious ways; Immunity is often a more blended, and more expansive-sounding work than Insides, particularly on songs like the Brian Eno-esque "Abandon Window" and "Form by Firelight," which offers a playful study in contrasts in the way it bunches into glitches and then unspools a peaceful piano melody.
Maybe Tyler Farr is a tough guy, and maybe he’s a chump. On his new single “Redneck Crazy” (Columbia Nashville), he has the luxury of not having to choose. On this slow-burning country ballad, Mr. Farr seethes over an ex who’s stepped out on him, but what starts out threatening ends up mischievous.
‘Immunity’ is an hour-long voyage into the musical mind of Jon Hopkins, an artist whose previous collaborations include the likes of Brian Eno, Coldplay and Underworld but is probably best known for his 2011 Mercury Prize nominated album ‘Diamond Mine’ with King Creosote. Launching with the brutal distorted beats of ‘We Disappear’ it plunges the listener into the same murky musical undergrowth inhabited by the likes of Burial and Four Tet whilst ‘Open Eye Signal’ wires chunky synths over a monumental baseline. New technology and traditional instrumentation combine on the experimental ‘Breathe This Air,’ paving the way for ‘Collider,’ a sprawling multi-layered techno epic that navigates heavy breathing and thudding drum kicks before bleeps, synths and vocal snippets combine to devastating effect.
After his recent collaborations with Brian Eno and King Creosote (on the Mercury-nominated 2011 album Diamond Mine), you could be forgiven for approaching Immunity, Jon Hopkins's fourth solo album, expecting another soothing collection of intimate songs – the sonic equivalent of tasteful, aural wallpaper. The first sounds you hear on Immunity suggest these expectations might not be too wide of the mark – a key in the door (of Hopkins' East London studio) and then the door slamming; exactly the sort of found-sound trimmings that epitomised Diamond Mine and his work with Eno. So it was something of a surprise that two minutes later I found myself jerking around my living room like a loony, checking the Fabric listings as 'We Disappear' did its level best to force me out of my house and into the night to go raving.
Jon Hopkins works in a shifting palette of organic and electronic sounds, building glitch-scratched beats out of jingling keys, stomped piano pedals and breath. “We Disappear” starts in the recognizable sounds of a key turning, a door slamming and footsteps, a mundane set of signifiers which morphs, gradually into an abstract sort of beat. It’s the human dissolving into auditory signal, experience melting into synapse flashes, an idealization that is not quite familiar, but feels as if it ought to be.