Jon Hopkins - Immunity [Album]


Having previously made a name for himself in the backgrounds of Imogen Heap, King Creosote and Coldplay releases, electronic musician Jon Hopkins has traditionally helped others to success but with the release of breakthrough fourth album Immunity and a Mercury Music Prize nomination under his belt, Hopkins is now a man stepping out of the shadows.

More than nine months in the making, Hopkins has taken the time to consider this hour-long body of work, and what Immunity lacks in a lengthy track list is made up in its perfect imitation of the peaks and troughs of a night out.

Sitting near to the edge of concept album, a clear journey is chartered from the aching anticipation of the night ahead in ‘We Disappear’ to the inevitable soundtrack for the rising sun in ‘Immunity’. Somewhere in the middle of the album, monstrous climaxes and charged techno beats speak loudly of hazy dance floors filled with writhing masses pulsating in unified rhythm.

The first part of the album has a definite upward trajectory, with the three songs birthing tangible tension, later broken perfectly by the grittiness and drop of ten-minute techno odyssey ‘Collider’.

‘Abandon Window’ provides natural recuperation at the turn of the album, with its haunting piano harmony and seas inspired undertones giving way to a kind of serenity and reflection before the beat heavy transition into keys-infused ‘Form by Firelight’. It is here that Hopkins demonstrates his ample handle on composing. Sounds bounce and reverberate off each other creating a thoughtful and well-knitted piece that blends well into the more erratic epic ‘Sun Harmonics’.

By far the longest track on the album, ‘Sun Harmonics’ is a fantastical marathon laced with swirls of barely-there vocals and strings of unique sounds laid over a rousing beat. Threats from Hopkins to live score the album are meaningful at this point with ‘Sun Harmonies’ easily creating ample opportunity for live orchestration and no doubt matching visual projections.

The closing title track ‘Immunity’ brings the album a full circle. Lilting harmonies are mixed with layers of eerie scuffles and creaks throughout creating a thoughtfully nostalgic piece to finish. Collaborator King Creosote has lent his vocals to the track, complementing the orchestration and adding another layer to Hopkins' work.

Throughout Immunity Hopkins allows us fully into his world of ambient soundscapes and creates an affinity between listener and writer from the off. The sounds of Hopkins entering his studio can be heard on the opening of ‘We Disappear’ and acts as a reminder of the shadowy face behind the music that is present within every individual sound.

There is a reason why Immunity all sounds so personal, with many of the analogue sounds created ingeniously by Hopkins himself tapping, plinking and striking everyday objects and instruments before processing them painstakingly through electronic production. This approach is the key to why this album cut through where Hopkins’ work previously hasn’t. Like a vinyl being pressed, Hopkins has melded himself lovingly on every track.

By Sarah Joy

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