An artist who co-produced Coldplay’s last album perhaps wouldn’t normally be mentioned too kindly on these pages, but don’t let his association with the mediocre monarchs of gloom rock put you off; Jon Hopkins fourth studio long-player is an exquisite marriage of complex beat driven electronica and lush ambient stylings that’s well worthy of an extended listen.
The album is one of two distinct halves, though the analogue synthesis and sound design techniques present on both makes it a coherent whole. Part one is akin to James Holden’s work, the kicks are stifled and muted, always bubbling underneath the main refrain, but with enough muscle to keep the listener locked into the groove. The highlight being the epic nine minute workout that is Collider which builds, crackles and fizzes with a relentless intensity.
During part two, Hopkins displays the results of his work with ambient auteur Brian Eno and King Creosote (who guest vocals on the title track). It’s here where his classical training and studio production knowledge allows the beautiful layered soundscapes to shine though the occasional sculptured laid-back beats most notably on the excellent Sun Harmonics.
A pleasantly surprising and accomplished release which may be in many a reviewers end of year ‘best-of’ lists, and for good reason.