Jon Hopkins
Music for Psychedelic Therapy


3.5
great

Review

by Brandon Taylor USER (36 Reviews)
November 30th, 2021 | 25 replies


Release Date: 11/12/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A gorgeous album that proves that ambient music doesn't need a job

An ambient new age album definitely isn’t a left-field choice for a producer known to create intricate, cavernous soundscapes with synth tones as shimmery as opals. Music For Psychedelic Therapy demonstrates the same level of precise care behind each individual note and harmony as Jon Hopkins’ two previous critically-acclaimed electronic albums, Immunity and Singularity. Music For Psychedelic Therapy thrives when Hopkins takes inspiration from the living and breathing, whether that be rainforest birds chirping in an Amazonian cave, or legitimately thought-provoking and moving spoken word passages from spiritual guru Ram Dass.

It’s an immaculate ambient album if it were devoid of context, but where it loses me slightly is through its deliberate intention to act as a musical accompaniment to a psychedelic trip. While it may indeed be expertly suited for this purpose (I unfortunately won’t be finding out anytime soon), it makes the album feel almost preachy in its intention to make you to feel a certain way.

For me, the best ambient music is universal and lets the listener apply their own purpose – for example you could listen to confront your anxieties, to attune yourself better to the natural world, or to escape it. When ambient music is overly aware of its utility, like in the case of Music For Psychedelic Therapy, you might concentrate too hard on ascribing a meaning to the album instead of letting it transport you somewhere without bias. In the worst case scenario, you might be left feeling like you just listened to a (really great) soundtrack to a 60 minute remedial massage.



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user ratings (39)
3.4
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Demon of the Fall
November 30th 2021


22647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pos. Last paragraph makes a ton of sense. Although this made for decent enough background music, it didn't transport me anywhere of note.

Digging: Aurora - The Gods We Can Touch

Evok
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2021


8830 Comments


You say it’s an immaculate ambient album devoid of context but it's evidently not devoid of context at all, so you kinda contradict yourself. Its pretty clear this ambient work was indeed made to accompany a therapeutic psychedelic session. Imho, that's absolutely cool af. There's a wild, new, and possibly life-saving frontier happening in the world of psychedelic therapies, so to see art being tailored specifically for that is pretty dang neat!

With that said, my days of being a head are long behind me, and I'm lucky to get a full-blown trip in even once a year at this point, so this will likely take the back-burner. Buuut, if anything, this album has reminded me that I might be overdue for a good ol' humbling, so thx for reviewing ;]


Digging: Ferrara Ensemble and Crawford Young - Figures Of Harmony: Songs Of Codex Chantilly c1390

garas
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2021


6958 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Good to see this reviewed. Also this was a good one, pos'd.

brandontaylor
November 30th 2021


1136 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@evok I meant that sentence to say ‘immaculate if it were devoid of context’ so I might edit that to make it more clear

keaton_86
December 2nd 2021


465 Comments


I listened to this when I couldn't sleep after taking a lot of mdma and hot damn it was perrrrfect. I had some great fractal visions with my eyes shut and it just worked so well with this music.

Digging: DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ - The Other Realm

SitarHero
December 2nd 2021


13781 Comments


[Insert Jon Hopkins University Hospital joke].

Pho3nix
December 2nd 2021


1226 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Wow nice coincidence, I just added this randomly to my playlist a couple of days ago.



Thanks for the rev!

kevbogz
December 3rd 2021


3902 Comments


not nearly as high as i would like to be to fully enjoy this but this is still incredibly solid ambient

kevbogz
December 3rd 2021


3902 Comments


the cover looks like a cat butthole tho and i don't like thaT

kevbogz
December 3rd 2021


3902 Comments


also wish this was longer tbh : )

Sabrutin
December 3rd 2021


8196 Comments


Well this is a nice looking front page

arf
December 3rd 2021


148 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

3.5 for now. Need to relisten under the influence to see if it deserves any higher (*_*)

Digging: Pensees Nocturnes - Douce Fange

Project
December 3rd 2021


5295 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

that preachiness is what really killed this for me. I loved Immunity and I liked Singularity but this just was so dull to listen to

HelloJoe
December 3rd 2021


169 Comments


I liked this album. I like the hypothesis of this review but I don't necessarily agree with it. I don't think ambient needs to be entirely void of an artist's inherited purpose for it to be successful. I don't think that's true of any art or music. Instead, I think that Hopkins is quite clear about what this should be and that's the realm with which I would judge it.

Guided therapy as an art is interesting and I don't think that being chained down by this idea that ambience is emotionally ambivalent does the works justice and I doubt that this is ever really the purpose of ambience. It's not an argument that I think holds water.

Also, I don't think it necessarily needs to be used in conjunction with psychedelic drugs even if the album title suggests it. Personally, I don't like the label when it comes to describing any genre or sound of music (See psychedelic rock). I'm generally sober besides casual drinking, so I listened to this album entirely sober and felt it through therapy rather than narcotics or a non-sober state.

arf
December 3rd 2021


148 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Also, I don't think it necessarily needs to be used in conjunction with psychedelic drugs even if the album title suggests it."

Yeah, it's rather the other way around, that the word "psychedelic" should be understood - psychedelic drugs are drugs to be used for the purpose of psychedelics, that is, psyche-delos, soul-exposure - for unwrapping your soul, I guess? Psychedelic drugs are one of the ways to accomplish this. And hypnosis through psychedelic music, is another one.

(That said, combining doesn't hurt. Especially if your soul is too shy.)

Prancer
December 3rd 2021


1350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album exposed me to Ram Dass when I needed it so I'm grateful for that

HelloJoe
December 3rd 2021


169 Comments


@arf

For real. Maybe some folks need that push but others can get that kick without any assisting drug.

Evok
Contributing Reviewer
December 3rd 2021


8830 Comments


$10 and 12 hours of free time sure makes it a lot easier though ;]

kevbogz
December 4th 2021


3902 Comments


"that preachiness is what really killed this for me."

i wouldn't call it preachiness, but it's definitely a controlled and guided listen. think that's entirely the point considering psychedelic therapy is supposed to be in that type of environment

osmark86
December 4th 2021


11002 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"You say it’s an immaculate ambient album devoid of context but it's evidently not devoid of context at all, so you kinda contradict yourself. Its pretty clear this ambient work was indeed made to accompany a therapeutic psychedelic session. Imho, that's absolutely cool af. There's a wild, new, and possibly life-saving frontier happening in the world of psychedelic therapies, so to see art being tailored specifically for that is pretty dang neat!"



Was about to write something similar to this as a response to the review but you said it perfectly. Cheers.



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