Jon Hopkins - Singularity
Musically 2013 could not feel further away, however that was the last time we heard new music from Mercury Prize winner Jon Hopkins. His album Immunity was released and took acid house to a totally new level. ON this new record however Hopkins pushes things even further, not only creating the music but the atmosphere around it as well. Singularity is a record to be reckoned with, it is here to take you on a journey through a very specific world that Hopkins has created. The beating soul of it all however is dance, putting a beat on the floor that you can move to always trumps everything. Songs like "Emerald Rush" give us this glitchy affected sound with this truly beautiful floating soundscape humming in the background. When we think about acid house we often go straight to the extreme almost towards happy hardcore levels, but what Hopkins is showing us is that there is more to it, and even something as overtly aggressive as acid house can have a subtlety and grace all it's own. You are really finding this more in electronic music these days where EDM just built to these massive drops to create drama more producers are turning to house now allowing a song to expand and grown without being an all out sensory barrage. I almost imagine EDM as going over a cliff while house is more like a large valley, always expanding further and further until all the space is consumed. This album gives you that in spades constantly shifting and changing within songs to give them new and dynamic structures.
The song lengths and run time can look somewhat daunting, but once you dig in all that seems to fade away and you end up lost in all that Singularity has to offer. From the choral singing on "Feel First Life" to the tropical notes of "C O S M" this album feels like it can go anywhere while still keeping that unifying force throughout. The one thing you'll notice however is just how singular of an experience this album is; what I mean is I would be hard pressed to find a setting where this could be enjoyed with a group. It takes too long to unfold and forcing people to listen to three minutes of swirling synths with one kick drum just to get to something special at the end of the road is tough. This is music for you and your headphones on a long walk, not for thumping away in a club all night long. That being said I'm sure the live experience with Hopkins would be fucking insane, just on a different kind of level. The one time the album falters is on "Echo Dissolve" which is a fine piano track, but sort of looses the spirit of the record and feels like an odd bump in the road. Singularity as a whole however is a splendid record full of surprise and mystery. It is not often you get electronic music without words that can be this evocative but Jon Hopkins has done it. So sit back, thow the headphones on and dissolve into Jon Hopkins' world, you may never come back.
8.9 out of 10