Album Review: Jon Hopkins, Immunity

Jon Hopkins’ Immunity is equal parts Amon Tobin and Brian Eno. Understandable, with Hopkins having played keyboards for the latter. But where Hopkins matches Tobin and Eno in vision, experimentalism and meticulous sound-design, Immunity is a far more visceral experience. Hopkins captures our primeval urge to move and proceeds to analyse it from every angle, like a scientist studying a novel organism.The crunchy beats, gauzy synths and ever-expanding layers of album opener “We Disappear” establishes the thematic architecture of the album: pure head candy, no melodies or hooks, and no golden rope from the heavens for you to grasp. Hopkins instead provides a variegated aural experience that evolves before your very eyes. It’s intelligent dance music without the IDM label that gets tagged on to every dance release that ventures past a four-on-the-floor rhythm.Tracks like “Open Eye Signal”, “Breathe This Air” and “Collider” offer vivid portraits of sound that slowly uncoil while displaying Hopkins’ remarkable grasp of atmosphere and tempo. Pitch a track up or down and you have an entirely different piece of music. The sombre “Abandon Window” has you standing alone inside the great white expanse of the echoplex before the glitch-minimalism of “Sun Harmonics” — and the fey, distant vocals and winding piano of the title track — direct the journey inwards, where it comes to its glorious Greg Moskovitch

June 9th 2013
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