Jon Hopkins: Insides

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Jon Hopkins 

Written By:

Brad Kelly

06th May 2009
At 22:06 GMT

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We could start this review by using many metaphorical introductions in an attempt to explain this CD to you (its a ray of light beaming down on a desolate landscape offering the only faint sight of hope in world riddled with chaos / An ambient boat of beauty on a dark sea of electric) but none of them actually correctly portray the magnificence this record holds.

Unfolding from the calmest of introductions, Insides starts with The Wider Sun; a calm, sparse, gentle instrumental that has the ability to soothe anyone within a five mile radius. Relaxed violins slowly layer each-other with a melancholic sigh and warm, tonal squeals. It's a great introduction and a fantastic way to introduce the following track Vessel.

What was once almost orchestral just moments ago becomes twice as dark and twice as brooding. Deep, ethereal electronica shoves its the way to the foreground, textured by a distant piano. It's almost mechanical in sound but it's constantly juxtaposed by its beauty; the twisted, morphed rhythm battles with the placidity of the backing and it makes for some of the most intricately enjoyable music we've heard this side of 2009.

Swapping between ambient and impending stylistics would usually convolute an album or ruin its flow but because everything on here is so slickly produced and intertwined, it instead becomes a fantastic addition to the music and allows for calming breaks between the heavier electro. Not that you'd need a break when the music is as god damned good as this.

The record propels the listener from one side of the electronic spectrum to the other and we don't just mean from sparse to loud; we mean from electro-dub to break-beat rhythms to discordant twinkles to orchestral sparsity. Wire sounds like climbing an electrical mountain and finding early-Royksopp at the peak whilst the nine-minute behemoth that is Light Through The Veins sounds like the snow that falls a-top that very mountain. It dips and dives and twinkles like freshly fallen flakes and though its duration is rather long; there's not a single moment where you aren't encapsulated in the wonder that Mr. Hopkins creates.

There's no doubt that the man has talent positively oozing from every musical pore on his body and each and every one of his strengths is flawlessly displayed on this record here. From the title tracks bombastic, dark, dub-step beat that triples in size by its last minute, to the poignant ambience of the piano-based final track Autumn Hill, this album is a perfect example of knowing where your talents lay. Its so tiring to hear album after album and artist after artist attempt at sounding fresh and inventive but actually conforming because of their intent to sound original (something you won't find on here).

Its craftsmanship is almost unmatched and the noise it makes can be utterly astounding so instead of continuing to read this; we suggest you go and get it yourself, you won't believe your ears.

Rating:  9 / 10

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