I've so far done music reviews for retro cartoon series and video games but I thought I'd break this trend and share with you one of my current favourite albums. Singularity is by Jon Hopkins, a UK based electro-ambient musician. It is his fifth album and first new album since Immunity, which was released about 5 years ago.
I was recommended Immunity in a record shop I go to and fell in love with it, still listening to tracks off it most day even all these years on. The tracks were all beautiful but were often more like different suites or pieces.
With a title like Singularity I feel Hopkins is trying to create a cohesive whole, where his classical piano pieces with soft electronic pulsations mix well with the more heavily electronic synth sounds. Listening to the album there is a definite flow and feeling of overlapping motifs and ideas, the album is meant to be listened to as a whole rather than in individual chunks, although that doesn't affect your overall enjoyment however you listen to it.
The album kicks off with the album title, Singularity and is a slow burn at over 6 minutes. It starts off with a slow hiss then a slow pulse emerges, a minute or slow later a more driving squealing beat is dropped and the whole piece turns from calm ambience to head bopping full on EDM.
Emerald Rush starts with lush pianos and a gentle whoosh of wind swirling around the space, recalling Satie or 'Waiting for Cousteau' Jarre, then the music stops for a second and the beat drops and it changes into full blown trance with a beautifully simple motif that drives the piece faster forward. There are hard to decipher vocals but the whole piece is stunning and definitely one of my favourite tracks of the year. The music video for this piece is stunning and is a recommended watch, even though it misses the first 1:50 minutes of the track.
Neon Pattern Drum returns to Hopkins quick fractured breakbeat tracks that he is famous for. He melds the synthetic and organic sounds well here to create an electronic track with heart.
Everything's Connected is a 10 minute epic, with a droning sound that's built on and built on, evolving slowly until it is just a lush and wondrous piece with a driving beat and sinewy smooth synth sound wending its way through the piece like an e living creature (which the music video shows happening in an edited 6 minute cut which is well worth a gander).
Feel First Life, had a new age feel but without the cheesiness of that genre. It feels like the birth of something special in the universe and the haunting vocals add to that ethereal tone.
COSM is a beautiful IDM influenced track that still feels warm and ambient. It's one of my favourite in the album.
Echo Dissolve is a piano piece that only has a few dark synth sounds emerging at the end.
Luminous Beings is a warm piece of ambience that feels like a warm hug. Alongside a fast tingly rhythm you have some piano intervening in and out and the track slowly fades away into the last track Recovery, which continues the gentle piano motif forward.
For me, this is Jon Hopkin's best album. The first half of the album has a lot of the big moments but the second half does have them too, they're just not as bombastic. The second half is like a beautiful piece of orchestra music that is lulling you to sleep. It's slightly unsettling after the bang and crash of the first half but by gosh how spiritual and soothing it is after listening to 25 minutes of heavy synthed glitches and fractured beats. This is a masterpiece of the EDM, Electro genre and is a must buy.