Whilst John Hopkins is perhaps best known for his mercury-nominated collaboration with King Creosote, Diamond Mine (2011), his solo work has passed largely unnoticed. Having worked with Brian Eno and Coldplay among other big names, he has generally avoided the mainstream glance so far.
However, his fourth solo album, Immunity is one which has the potential to define the course of electronic music over the next few years. A brave divergence from the more atmospheric, ambiance feel that has characterised his work thus far, Immunity has a whiff of nightlife and a strong dosage of epic bass lines.
The strongest tracks on the album, such as Form by Firelight, Breathe This Air, or Open Eye Signal, have a steady progression, moving from a calm, peaceful beat, to a full out techno climax – without the listener even realising. Indeed, the real beauty to this album lies in the subtleties of its composition; the way each element, whether synthetic or otherwise, feels like it has been hand-picked and placed gracefully into a musical organism.
The promotional video released in anticipation of the album’s release, an artistic compilation of magnified footage of crystals and chemicals drenched in colour sums up the whole album; it’s all about the details.
Whilst it is certain that the length as well as the slow development of the album is almost certainly not appealing to everyone, what we have here is without doubt a masterpiece. As echoes of King Creosote’s voice fade in and out of the delicate, hazy final title track, one feels that Jon Hopkins has gone full circle – ranging from a a calm, subdued opening, to deep, synthetic electro bass rhythms, before returning to an airy, atmospheric finish.
Much of the album has a certain dark edge to it – a melancholic chord, or a thundering echo sends the listener into an introspective glance, an effect which is particularly poignant thanks to the minimalism of Hopkins’ production.
In a similar way to the F*ck Buttons’ electro-drone, Jon Hopkins’ Immunity is great study music, inducing a state of calm and concentration in the listener. It couldn’t have been released at a better time of the year.