Jon Hopkins

Jon Hopkins is a musical shapeshifter: a composer, pianist and a self-taught studio wizard. He makes big, bold electronic music using walls of synths, twinkling melodies and amorphous bass rumbles. Hopkins's aesthetic is perpetually intriguing. He transcends genres, melding digital coldness with subtle, bucolic textures; veering from skewed elegance to strange, unsettling depths. Insides artfully constructed, unparalleled palette of rhythmic loops and treated piano can be partly explained by Hopkins' unusual adolescence; he was a child piano prodigy before discovering the bleeps and beeps of dance music. In his west London bedroom he balanced a teen obsession with acid house, early hardcore and grunge alongside weekend piano tutorials at the Royal College of Music. Hopkins honed his skills with years of experimentation on four-track tape recorders and old-school computer programs. After leaving school he toured Europe playing keyboards and samplers with Imogen Heap, before signing to Just Music aged 19. His first album, 2001's Opalescent, was written in a Wembley bedsit while he jobbed as a session keyboard-player and engineer. A collection of instrumental songs with an escapist, pastoral feel, it earned him a cult following amongst the electronica cognoscenti. His second outing, Contact Note (2004), was a more evolved set: a cinematic, layered work with a harder experimental edge. It earned Hopkins comparisons to and praise from Brian Eno. An introduction to the sonic alchemist lead to sessions that were later released as part of Eno's album Another Day on Earth. It was this experience as well as collaborations with singer-songwriter King Creosote and the Fence Collective that lit the touch paper for the genuinely exploratory electronica of his third album, Insides, on which he began to work during autumn 2006. The following year he took a hiatus after being asked to produce King Creosote's album Bombshell. Around the same time he was introduced to Coldplay by Brian Eno, which led to a stint as an additional producer on their new album Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends. Looking back on earlier, more rigidly sequenced work, Hopkins says he has moved away from the clinical accuracy of precision-tooled beats. It's this collision of human imperfection and digital circuitry that lends his latest album a brilliant tension. Its fluttering piano motifs are abruptly overpowered by the sort of brutal basslines that wouldn't be out of place tremoring the dancefloor at an east London dubstep night, or even accompanying avant-garde choreography - the first half of Insides formed the score to Wayne McGregor`s recent contemporary dance production Entity, which premiered earlier this year at Sadler`s Wells. Insides is about strange contexts: natural, arcane textures welded to uneasy rhythms. Beautiful acoustic melodies set against jarring bass. Insides is, above all, an audacious album with a modernist luster and magical aura all of its own.



Artist info

Label: Domino
Array: GB
Bookmark and Share