It may have taken five years, but on ‘Singularity’ Jon Hopkins has crafted something divine
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It may have taken five years, but on ‘Singularity’ Jon Hopkins has crafted something divine

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Hopkins, Purity Ring, and to a lesser degree, Icelandic duo Kiasmos have taken the acute genre of soundscape and touched it up to a point where it’s accessible to those more familiar with traditional music constructs.

Opening song and title track ‘Singularity’ sees Hopkins announcing to fans of his last record Immunity that this album is a progression from the analogue synth-driven ‘tape-hiss house’ established five years ago.

Second track in and lead single ‘Emerald Rush comes off almost as part two of his popular single ‘Open Air Signal’ from the aforementioned 2011 release. The composition of this track seeks to stay true to the ambient genre, building over 90 seconds off the back of swirling keys that are punctuated by a slowly plucked acoustic guitar. All the while a muffled kick drum is building, and what feels like feedback comes in and out of range. Then at 1:47 all these elements form a singular focal point, with Hopkins signature thwomp. Now, with its backbone bared to the listener, the song charts a melodically twisting journey that is joined by an indecipherable harmonising female vocal.

‘Everything Connected’stands out on the album for a number of reasons. Firstly its length, 10:30, is almost double every other song on the album. Apart from ‘Luminous Beings’ – that one comes in at 11:51. Secondly, and most importantly, it contains the most impactful drop of the album. The track opens with momentum, the techno beat of the previous track ‘Neon Pattern Drum’ forming the residual, before washing-out into a very-Hopkins ethereal wonderland but then from 3:57 it loops then phases into a driving 120 bpm with the phasing effect continually limiting then enhancing the full impact of the beat. All the while the white noise introduced earlier in the song twinkles as an overlay.

With production credits that include Coldplay, London Grammar and even Natalie Imbruglia, Hopkins’ ability to reinterpret what we know as ‘popular’ is well established but it’s only on his solo work that a window into his genius is fully recognised.  Normally it can come across as a bit of a copout when one is recommended to ‘listen to an album from start to finish’; as though the artist is trying to cover for the fact the songs are not that strong. However, every song on Hopkins’ Singularity holds its own if played in isolation, but when played uninterruptedly in the succession the artist intended, this album is divine.

9.5/10