Album Review: Music for Psychedelic Therapy by Jon Hopkins
Excellent, Based on 5 Critics
Exclaim - 90 Based on rating 9/10
The Tayos Caves of Ecuador are steeped in myth and history. Its landscape draws many seeking a special connection to its unique, natural wonders.
After his last album, Jon Hopkins felt it was time to reset, and find inspiration in another source. The UK producer made the decision to take a different direction with his next record, eschewing the beats and expansive ambient IDM of 2013's Immunity and 2018's psychedelic-leaning Singularity for something introspective and egoless, with raw, emotional honesty.
A few years since the intricate, heady brew of Singularity, Jon Hopkins is back with a record that is meant to be experienced rather than listened to. The monologue on final track Sit Around The Fire says it all: the concept is akin to meditation, emptying your mind and letting the sound wrap around you. The three-parter Tayos Caves, Ecuador sports a brilliant crescendo, with waterfall sounds that grow in intensity alongside pads which approach from an echoey distance and envelop with their warm tones before ascending into the ether.
Jon Hopkins' music captures the beauty of the dawn and the vastness of the cosmos with pristine particularity. On his most recent albums, Immunity and Singularity, Hopkins combined his classical pianist sensibilities and ambient leanings with complex, warm techno beats to arrange some of the past decade's most engaging electronic compositions. Now, on Music For Psychedelic Therapy, Hopkins has dropped the polyrhythmic beats in favor of natural minimalism, taking us away from the dancehall on a transcendent journey toward serenity.
What music should soundtrack the psychedelic revolution? That's one of many meta-inquiries bewildering neuroscientists as they work to make psychedelic-assisted therapy more widely available--and legal. The music, they've discovered, really matters, since it not only supports the trip but can actually shape it, steering the patient toward new mental frontiers. And yet, most clinical researchers have still been using the same choppy playlists of Brahms, Bach, and the Beatles.
When thinking about the music of Jon Hopkins it's hard to remember a time when he wasn't releasing music. His debut album 'Opalescent' came out in 2001 and immediately separated him from the majority of electronic artists. Instead of going for hulking beats and big room cheers, he was crafting something that wasn't ambient, chillout, downtempo or biomusic but something that taps into all of them, whilst sounding totally originally and exciting.