Jon Hopkins has frequently trafficked in what might be pejoratively called “commercial ambient”. His latest, Insides even contains moments that might be called “pop IDM”. It sounds crass, but these are not condemnations in and of itself. Hopkins has been a classically trained pianist since he was a young child and, as such, he knows his way around an affecting melody.
Review Summary: Coldplay coproducer thrills and enchants with classically tinged dubtronica.You may not have heard of the guy, but it’s more than probable you’ve heard his work. Massive Attack, Herbie Hancock, Imogen Heap, and, most recently, Coldplay and Brian Eno, are just a few of the names you’ll see connected to the classically trained 28 year old’s already colourful profile. But if the mention of ‘classically trained’ and ‘Coldplay’ has you raising your eyebrows, then maybe the words ‘serrated dub-step’ and ‘aggressive electronica’ will dampen the fears slightly.
Jon Hopkins got a pretty big résumé boost in 2008 through his production work (alongside Brian Eno and others) on Coldplay's Viva la Vida. Prior to this he had worked with Massive Attack and released two albums on small labels. His debut for Domino, 2009's Insides, is his first record that many people will hear and it's a promising, but flawed, debut.
The singular, aesthetic impression that an instrument like the piano can accomplish is fully magical. A near-image of all that is beautiful in our world, it is responsible for many of our most memorable pieces. Try playing Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14 in C# minor (popularly titled “Moonlight” Sonata) or any of Scott Joplin’s piano rags on a guitar or maybe on a wind instrument; it just isn’t the same.