Jon Hopkins On The Tension In Blending Techno And Ambient Sounds For His Latest Album ‘Singularity’

05.03.18 6 months ago

Steve Gullick

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“The Singularity” is a theory posited by futurists that describes a hypothetical event which will send technological advancement off the deep end — creating a kind of exponential growth in intelligence and technology. It’s a precise moment when all is possible and infinite, leading some to believe it represents the next moment in sociobiological evolution. For producer Jon Hopkins, the singularity represents a kind of harmony. As Hopkins’ first album in five years, Singularity begins with the long drone of a single note that then everything else on the album emanates from and returns to. The hard lined sounds of beat-forward techno are juxtaposed against softer, lush ambient moments, creating a collision of synthesized and analog sounds that are at times at odds with one another yet ultimately become indistinguishable.

It’s a welcome return for the artist who really turned heads in 2013 with the release of Immunity, his breakthrough album. With that record, Hopkins established himself as a songwriter concerned with narrative who made compelling, subtle yet expansive works of introspective electronic music.

We caught up with Hopkins as he prepared for his first batch of live sets since he toured in support of Immunity in 2015. The English producer expounded upon the continuity between this album and his last, the overarching narrative he sees his albums fitting in, and the way he plays techno and ambient off of one another to create an engrossing album that also feels introspective.

I couldn’t help but notice that the art from the Asleep Versions EP bears a strong resemblance to parts of the video for “Emerald Rush.” Were they by the same artist?

That is right and it is very much intention as well. That’s Robert Hunter. He’s got his own illustrated books and very mysterious, very distinctive style that I loved. So along with a guy called Elliot Deer, they worked together on the “Emerald Rush” video. I quite like to work with the same people. Keep the team going, you know we all kind of build our file together. It’s a nice way of working.

It’s sort of a nice way to connect Immunity with Singularity in the sense that there’s that visual theme connecting the two. Is that a purposeful visual theme and does it relate to the music? Do you see the two records as being connected?

Yeah I kind of see the arc of all five of my albums telling a continuing story. Obviously that makes more sense to me, because they tie in directly to my own experiences and my own kind of evolution, but I think each one to me is very much the next part of the story, whatever the story may be and it’s nice to have some sort of shared visual aesthetic along the way.

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