Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Brian Eno refers to Jon Hopkins as an "electronic innovator". Mr. Hopkins has been producing lush & serene modernistic soundscapes for about 10 years now. He has worked with Herbie Hancock, David Holmes, and even Coldplay ("Light Through The Veins" may sound familiar to Coldplay fans). On "Insides", his fourth full length, Mr. Hopkins takes his sound to a new level of achievement. Take the ambient side of Nine Inch Nails, "A Warm Place", a dash of Neo-Classical, mix that with the glitch of Aphex Twin or Telefon Tel Aviv, add a few harsh dub-step moments and you're on the right track.
The opening track to "Insides" sounds like a track straight off of "The Proposition" soundtrack. Classical music with restraint and subtle textures that is both intelligent and melancholy. It eventually turns into "Vessel", which immediately lets you know why Brian Eno and many others hold this producer in such high regards. Gorgeous piano is smashed and pummeled by harsh subs, deep kicks, "crunchy" sound effects, and angry glitch. Ambient drones are present on a lot of the tracks, they're just well hidden by the foregrounds impossible to ignore sounds. Some tracks are slightly laid back, some are downright angry, but all of them give that "feeling" every electronic music geek looks for. If you like "clicks", "cuts", sub drops, piano, "natural" Classical sounds, soothing found sounds, strings, and synths do not miss out on what's going on inside.
"Insides" is a metaphor for inner happenings/emotions and their reactions to life on the outside. You can try to cage those feelings, but eventually your "insides" will burst out. HIGHY RECOMMENDED. One of the better electronic albums I've heard in the past years.
Standout Tracks: The Wider Sun, Vessel (awesome song), Insides, Colour Eye (also awesome), The Low Places, A Drifting Up (sooo good), Autumn Hill (sounds like Virginia Astley)