Jon Hopkins: Immunity (Domino)
The wait between 2009’s ‘Insides’ and ‘Immunity’ was a long one. A really long one. When we were gifted with the early release of ‘Open Eye Signal’ we had a clear indicator of the unique and exclusive style that Hopkins was conjuring up. From ambient melodies to caustic electronic beats, he holistically captures a truly abnormal sound. ‘Immunity’ legitimized the delay between the two records and simultaneously turned Jon Hopkins in to a truly integral pillar in the landscape of forward thinking British music. Having been a frequent collaborator with the likes of Coldplay and King Creosote in recent years, it was ‘Immunity’ that cemented Hopkins’ status and defined his skill-set.
He manages to breathe light on ‘Abandon Window’ then let the bulb steadily flicker on ‘Form by Firelight’. The album doesn’t glimmer like DARKSIDE’s ‘Psychic’ but instead it jerks and gutters in between ambient respites of analog synthesized soundscapes. Whilst this record held floor fillers like ‘Breathe This Air’ and ‘Open Eye Signal’ they were resting in an LP that was full of vacant, fragile sounds. It’s the soundtrack to night out you have when going out is the wrong thing to do. The apparent euphoria on ‘Collider’ is underpinned by a slicing beat which bows out before the reality check of ‘Abandon Window’.
Hopkins assembles a strange kind of space on this record. Where many albums of 2013 tore open new universes, ‘Immunity’ was the record that reintroduced us to familiar ground via a whole new route. The techno production darts from intensely light to delicately cold sometimes all in one track. The only constant of ‘Immunity’ is it’s unmissable sense of realism. The LP starts with the sound of Hopkins opening the door to his studio and ends with a refreshing dose of human vocal from King Creosote on the closing title track.
In an age where music (dance music especially) is a minefield of SoundCloud links and pre-drink room pleasers pushed through inbuilt laptop speakers, ‘Immunity’ is an album people listened to from start to finish. There are as many favourite moments as there are favourite songs. Hopkins demonstrates an innate ability to instill something human in the most artificial of tools. He creates an album that is expressive, long-lasting and musically masterful.
Words: Sam Reevey | Illustration: Peculiar Man