Jon Hopkins – Singularity

Jon Hopkins’ Singularity explores the connectivity of the human mind, balancing the organic world with the urban. Singularity reflects Hopkins’ emotional states at the time of writing, taking influence from his experiences with meditation and trance states. It’s a focussed listen and a rewarding one, something that silences other noises around you, creating a moment of clarity for the listener. It’s an album of light and dark, balancing ambient and delicate choral sounds with thick techno beats.

Singularity isn’t something that strives to be particularly attention grabbing, instead it’s more an open invitation. The breathy, ambient synthesisers and the techno-heavy backing weave in and out of each other, working as two separate states running simultaneously. It’s the blending of both which is so effective, it manages to be gritty and serene at the same time. Hopkins also manages to play with dynamics to great effect. ‘Feel First Life’ has moments that are close to silence, where you have to hold on carefully to each note, as a result you’re completely wrapped up in every detail of the music. It’s a calm and beautiful song that’s blissful to listen to.

Singularity seems to be all about creating an emotional response from the listener, trying to bring the listener down a similar road which Hopkins himself has been on. In a sense the album goes a step further with its meditative influences and seems to try to create a similar experience. ‘Everything Connected’ is where this seems to be the most obvious. It’s an enticing track that pulls you in deeper and deeper, becoming something euphoric and tranquil.

Part of what makes the songs so strong is the space between them. Singularity will only work if listened to as a full album. Each song works with the one it’s following to make it more effective. ‘Echo Dissolve’ is a solo piano-led track which hangs between the epic ‘C O S M’ and ‘Luminous Beings’. What makes it so powerful is the unexpected break between the tracks, making the sparse nature of the song all the more powerful.

Hopkins’ excellent ability to balance all his musical ideals in a harmonious way is key to making Singularity as good as it is. There are a lot of contrasting styles and ideas on the album but Hopkins glides between each so smoothly you barely notice them happening. The techno backing to all the ambience and peaceful synthesisers is what gives the album a heartbeat. It’s the pulse that pushes everything forward and it’s what makes the album so engaging.

Jon Hopkins has created a magnificent experience on Singularity. Its ability to entice and envelope you in its ideas and moods is brilliant and it does deliver on its meditative promise. It’s as though Hopkins is emotionally unburdening you over the course of the album. It’s an album that gets under your skin and connects with you, bringing you some of the peace Hopkins has found himself. It’s very hard to say no to.

Chris Middleton