Jon Hopkins - Singularity
Jon Hopkins is incomprehensibly talented. He studied piano at the Royal College of Music in London at age 12, was programming MIDI by 14 and began creating full-length electronic creations by 15. Still, the amount of his musical growth in the last ten years, from Insides to Singularity, is impossible to deny. Hopkins continues to craft mesmerizing and organic EDM that few, if any, producers of our time are able to. Singularity is without a doubt, a true achievement in the EDM genre.
Of course, it isn't exactly an "easy" listen. In fact, you're going to need to dedicate an hour and 15 minutes to it, because Singularity is meant to be heard all in one go. Start to finish. It's a living entity, where instruments are born, interact with each other and dissolve into something else. Hi-hats don't simply begin at the beginning of a bar, but rather are heard being born beneath an electronic magma before carrying on. The title track starts with a slow synth layer that will be repeated at the conclusion of the album, and patiently works its way towards a subtly intricate drum rhythm four minutes in. The bass kicks in, throbbing on one note as the drums dance around it, creating the energy needed to propel and literally crash us into the "single" of the album, "Emerald Rush."
"Emerald Rush" is actually compact and simple for Hopkins. As with many songs on this journey, the bass and synths play slightly off the bass drum, skipping and sputtering, creating a frenetic, unusual rhythm. Hopkins really takes us deeper into his dimension with "Emerald Rush", offering remnants of reverse vocals, and an ever-growing chord progression. In terms of accessible EDM music, this is as close as your going to get on your trip through Singularity.
Four tracks in, "Everything Connected" is the centerpiece of the album, and easily one of 2018's most impressive musical creations. Hopkins is creating organic music sans metronome, rhythms change quickly without constraints of extreme structure. "Everything Connected" is an absolute beast, doing a helluva lot with a two-note bass backbone. Like most of Singularity, every note is meticulous and it its right place.
Hopkins took five years off after his last release Immunity and followed it up with a more robust, dense, introspective and tightly-packed EDM album that cements his status in the upper echelon of today's electronic talent. Singularity is ambitious even by Hopkins standards, including a 15 person choir throughout "Feel First Life." The album continues to evolve and push towards its predetermined end, never settling, never taking an easy or simple approach. It's dense without being heavy-handed, it's transcendent without being over-indulgent. Of course, you'll need to be in just the right mood for it to hit you in all the right ways, but when you need musical meditation, Singularity will be there for you.