Jon Hopkins
Singularity


4.0
excellent

Review

by Tristan Jones STAFF
May 5th, 2018 | 202 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Full circle.

In concept, Singularity is humble. Allegedly inspired by an exceptional, mind-altering night, the album expands outward with the same incorporeal logic of Hopkins’ watershed, Immunity. Fans of linear balance might be off-put; the album’s sequence is an upwards arch. Gradually, we find ourselves less tethered to the physical and more attuned to the spiritual. A song like “Neon Pattern Drum” shuffles with an acute physicality, controlled and surefooted. The stabs are thoughtful and deliberate, and the pulse is consistent. Later moments, like “Echo Dissolve”, are the aftermath of disintegration. (This particular song resembles what might hang in the air after an explosion, had the listener not been aware of the fact that it was a destructive force that preceded it.) I have admiration for the 'one-night' movie format, wherein entire lifetimes of experiences and developments can be condensed into one defining 24-hour (or less) experience. Think: The Breakfast Club, Groundhog Day, American Graffiti. Singularity sort of feels like the inverse, where one night is the spark of the narrative, not the summation.

This sentiment is evident in the first moment, a drone which Hopkins himself describes as “the one note from which everything grows.” The opener, despite the cadence and activity, is bleak, and this bleakness is easily missed (I didn’t catch wind of it until several listens, and was only certain of it upon reading Hopkins’ description of its destructive properties). The song grows, evolves, thrives, but then succumbs to cold technicism that inadvertently erases its humanity. Thematically, there are traces of this strewn throughout the first half. Even the danceable “Everything Connected”, whose final minute underscores a stark anxiety, captures a sort of fleeting pleasure that devolves into something suddenly sober and uncomfortable. We get this ongoing theme of surrender, where our creations serve to dictate our ambitions - or, lack thereof. Enter: the second half.

From “Feel First Life” to the album’s end, the music is less earthbound. Space-themed ambient has the potential to be more inventive than it often is, and “C O S M” probably succeeds in how it treats the extraterrestrial as a meditative state rather than a romanticized physical exploration. If Brian Eno’s 1977 release Before and After Science saw humanity dwindle with the onset of robots (or perhaps become them), Singularity sees a new consciousness, a sort of rebellious reorienting of the psychedelic movement. Not just liberating oneself from the constraints of social order, but of a perceived threat of a dehumanizing technological revolution. Closer “Recovery” is understated, with tonally soothing piano and subtle nature sounds that wash away that muck and murk left over from previous moments. It repositions the album, accentuating the highs and lows of the journey and ending much as it started.

In self-reflection, Hopkins deconstructs Singularity; for all its avenues, detours, desperate reaches and anxious retreats, true inner peace rests on a foundation of simplicity. A modest concept, often taken for granted.




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user ratings (270)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
May 5th 2018


6675 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Emerald Rush" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sk0uDbM5lc

"Everything Connected" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-w-XSbVDsI



Nice NPR piece where he describes each track's intent - https://www.npr.org/sections/allsongs/2018/05/04/607825272/jon-hopkins-enters-the-singularity-track-by-track

Relinquished
May 5th 2018


38276 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

*takes LSD once*

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
May 5th 2018


6675 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

is that even possible

Sinternet
May 5th 2018


17255 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

everything connected is song of the year as far as i'm concerned



great write up johnny!

zakalwe
May 5th 2018


25797 Comments


Too much process not enough groove.

anatelier
May 5th 2018


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

as it stands i think i rate this slightly more than immunity

hal1ax
May 5th 2018


11391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

a johnny 4 wtffffff

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
May 5th 2018


6675 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

when it’s right it’s right. or maybe I need a splash of cold water

Ashen
May 5th 2018


1460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album inspired me to check out the rest of his work. Nice review.

IcelandRevel
May 5th 2018


892 Comments


"The song grows, evolves, thrives, but then succumbs to cold technicism that inadvertently erases its humanity." Are you saying Singularity does not sound human, and instead sounds more robotic and technical?

Ryus
May 5th 2018


16514 Comments


NEED TO HEAR

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
May 5th 2018


6675 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@iceland - it starts human-like or biological but then that humanity fades as the machine-like forces envelop it

IcelandRevel
May 5th 2018


892 Comments


Hm, I disagree. Feel First Life, Echo Dissolve, and Recovery are all overflowing with humanity.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
May 5th 2018


6675 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I mean that specific track ..

“The song* (the opener, also titled “Singularity”) grows, evolves, thrives, but then succumbs ..”

Sabrutin
May 5th 2018


5735 Comments


Emerald Rush and Neon Pattern Drum are great. I'm digging this album even though it seemed to lose steam in its second half. Then again, I heard it once

Ponton
Emeritus
May 5th 2018


6358 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

albums pretty cool

Digging: Clark - Clark

Chortles
May 5th 2018


21280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review (typo in para 2 tho - should just be "Everything Connected" without the 'is')



I think what you say (and what Hopkins says himself) about what the tracks represent in context is very cool but i'm not really feeling that. it all sounds amazing but for all its ambition feels totally sterile to me, moreso than immunity did at least. but i'm interested to keep playing it, i wouldn't be surprised if it began to unfold a little more with time

Digging: Shinichi Atobe - Heat

Gyromania
May 5th 2018


25902 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Top notch review

rabidfish
May 5th 2018


4094 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i don't get why this particular artist is praised so much... There's so much music like this out there on soundcloud, bandcamp and stuff. What do people find so different about this in particular? It's just as bland and forgetable as the rest, imo.

Digging: Pussy Galore - Exile on Main Street

Sinternet
May 5th 2018


17255 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

do you have ears or are you just shitposting?



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