Album of the Week: Jon Hopkins – Singularity

There’s an alluring kind of perfection to the music of Jon Hopkins. There’s a painstaking degree of precision to the composer’s work. Hopkins’ sounds are designed to a cinematic extent, in perfect relation to each other through compositional forms that speak of some evocative fiction. Across his various solo works, and collaborations with the likes of Brian Eno and King Creosote, as well as his award-winning score for Monsters, there’s something unassailable in his music that has leaped across musical markers.

In 2008 he was cordially accepted into the electronic dance music circles with “Insides”, his third studio album which saw the producer, composer and performer inducted into the club music sphere, by combining elements of dubstep with visceral piano works that saw Hopkins travel from the stage to the club through his music.  

A pianist/keyboardist by trade with a progressive attitude to synthesis and sound design, Jon Hopkins garners the admiration from peers and music enthusiasts alike and alongside the likes of Nils Frahm and Max Richter, he has brought the gap between the worlds of Vivaldi and Väth closer together. Over the last decade, he has made music that channels a classical music education through a contemporary electronic realm. He is able to modulate with the contemporary landscape as it evolves, but with music built from a textural, melodic purview, it steps out of time with the that time and place as a distinctive musical voice. 

“Singularity” thus, could not be more suited as the title that marks Jon Hopkins’ return to the album format after five years. “Singularity” follows on from “Immunity” in one smooth movement with much of the same sonic designs at its core, sounds Hopkins has continually developed through the years in his work. There’s a dance music, percussive quality to his work again, that evokes rhythms from Dubstep’s era, but in “Singularity” there’s a distinctive narrative quality to the album, that we’ve not experiences in quite such a focussed way before. While “Insides” and  “Immunity” featured a similar cinematic flair across individual tracks, that’s exactly what they felt like, individual tracks.

On “Singularity” we find a distant connection between the individual songs, that tends to build tension through the first three songs, move up to transcendent heights through “Everything Connected”, before finding a resolution in “Feel First Life” and “C O S M”. The album languishes through those two tracks, “C O S M” teasing with kick at times but never over-exerting the listener , before it lands on “Echo Dissolve”; a piece of solitary piano music and atmospheric accompaniment that sounds what imagine the feeling  of contentment sounds like.

It’s a marvel listening to the way tracks like these and “Luminous Beings” unfold, progress and resolve in their entirety, and while Hopkins had already established something of this ability in “Immunity”, through “Singularity” I believe he’s achieved perfection. It’s almost too perfect.     

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