Friday, 26 April 2013

Track Review: Jon Hopkins - Open Eye Signal


English electronic producer Jon Hopkins is one of many (yes, there are quite a few) names that get the thumbs-up response here at MRD. If desired, you're allowed knowledge that specifics such as albums and the artist's earlier material does leave some minor cracks in the foundation. But it's never anything major - Hopkins is a man that is both admired and admired for reasons other than simply devoted following. It's been a while since the man released his last solo release, the factious electronic offering that was Insides. And while his following ventures - teaming up with King Cresote for 2011's well-sought Diamond Mine - it's no secret that LP4 as a solo offering, has been desired for some time. Well, June 3rd is the date fans will be required to mark in their calendars - the speculatively-personal Immunity, in its crystalline sprawl of colour as shown, perhaps leading us to believe Hopkins' sound remains gestured for atmospheric tension as it is for textural richness. Open Eye Signal, an eight-minute tease to Hopkins' eight-track record, without question, alludes too to the possibility that the Englishman hasn't spent all his time in the co-producer's chair; playing the supporting role to the likes of Eno and Coldplay alike.

If anything, Open Eye Signal comes off the fruitful celebration of late-night electronica and the emphatic engagement clubs distill on their listeners. The track begins less immediate and broad as Hopkins has offered on previous records - ambient electronics whistling and waning from the distance, setting up what becomes the solitude of techno-driven discovery. It's Hopkins daring venture into the nightly veil of wintry tones and spring-like textures that undermines just how much the idea of flow and revealing one's self comes into play. And if it's not for the gospel-like ambivalence of background noise that gives the music its intimate-but-distant puzzlement, then the muddled hit of percussion and struggling abrasiveness of synths certainly indicate this is an adventure filled with challenge; a test that is as much rhythmically soothing as it is simple too for the easily-guided of listeners.



His approach of course has changed. And while the ecstatic edge and forward-thinking momentum that guided his previous [solo] album so well, may be removed here, if this is anything to take note from, Hopkins remains confident in giving his music a clear air of mystery and sense of unrivaled discovery. Taking too from the album trailer released last month, if the 4/4 elements suggest anything further, it's that Jon Hopkins' challenging of one's self to identify the personal and the impersonal, are entering an intriguingly spacious and testing boundary of electronic music. Jon Hopkins and House? Jon Hopkins and Techno? There's no reason to suspect he can't at least tackle it. Immunity is out June 3rd via Domino Records.

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