Feb 25, 2018

Sundaze 1808


Today's Artist is a British electronic producer who meticulously constructs lush arrangements, blending digital beats and soothing ambience. His unique, hypnotic style made him a sought-after producer in the pop world, and earned him credits on albums by Coldplay, Massive Attack, Brian Eno, and Herbie Hancock in the late 2000s. Starting out as a gifted child pianist, in his teen years he became interested in synthesized sounds and started making acid house and drum'n'bass on a four-track recorder using computer software. Meanwhile .. ........N'Joy

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Jon Hopkins was born in 1979 in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey and grew up in nearby Wimbledon. He first became aware of electronic music after hearing early house music on the radio at the age of seven or eight, and also became a fan of Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys. These records inspired an early fascination with synths. At the age of 12 Hopkins began studying piano at the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music in London, where he continued until age 17. The composers that were greatly influential to him whilst studying were Ravel and Stravinsky, and he eventually won a competition to perform a concert of Ravel's Piano Concerto in G with an orchestra. For a time Hopkins considered becoming a professional pianist, only to decide classical performance was too formal and unnerving to pursue full-time.

As a teenager he also listened to acid house, early hardcore, grunge, as well as electronica artists such as Acen, Seefeel, and Plaid. When Hopkins was 14 he got his first computer, an Amiga 500, and started programming MIDI material. By the age of 15 he had saved up enough money from winning piano competitions to buy a low-level professional Roland synth, and on this he began creating his first full-length electronic compositions. After finishing his final exams at age 17, Hopkins accompanied his friend Leo Abrahams to an audition for Imogen Heap's backing band. Hopkins decided to audition as well, and was hired to handle both keyboard and samples, while Abrahams was hired as guitarist. He toured with the new band for the entirety of 1998.

In 1999 Hopkins signed with boutique London label Just Music as a solo artist, and began recording his debut album Opalescent. At the time he was also working part-time as a studio session musician Opalescent attracted positive press attention upon its release, and several tracks were licensed to Sex and the City. The Guardian reviewed it as "a beautifully realized debut. Using synth oozes, phased and echoed guitars and pianos and chilled beats, his wonderful tunes drift from calm to eerie power like a restless sea. It will delight any lovers of beautiful music." DJ Magazine gave it 4/5 stars, and stated "Piano, guitar strings and slow beats blend like the clouds at sunset (or an opiate smoothy) filtering in and out like elegantly wasted beauty. Darker drums add a further depth."

Hopkins released his second album, Contact Note, on Just Music in 2004 while still working as a studio musician. The album slowly gained an underground following but failed to take off, and led Hopkins to become disillusioned with his solo career, and take a break from writing to learn how to become a producer.

By 2004, Abrahams had been collaborating for some time with ambient musician and producer Brian Eno. Abrahams played some of Hopkins' second record for Eno, and Eno invited him to join them for a jam session. On the first day of their collaboration they came up with some of the music for Eno's upcoming album Another Day on Earth, and Hopkins became a long-term collaborator. Shortly afterwards Hopkins produced King Creosote's album Bombshell, which initiated his relationship with the Fence Collective. He also co-wrote tracks with DJ and composer David Holmes for Holmes' Holy Pictures album, and remixed for James Yorkston.

In early 2007 Hopkins was invited by Eno, who was producing Coldplay's upcoming album Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, to join the band in the studio for a day. Hopkins ended up staying and contributing to the album for the next year, co-producing several tracks and playing organs, harmoniums, and other keyboard instruments on others. The intro to the track "Violet Hill" came from an improvisation with Hopkins and Davide Rossi, the album's string arranger. Throughout this period Hopkins was periodically creating his own solo tracks, and his song "Light Through the Veins" was adapted to serve as the introduction to the album's first track "Life in Technicolor". "Light Through the Veins" was also picked by the band to serve as the backing for the track "The Escapist", which is hidden at the end of the album. Viva la Vida was released in 2008, and won Best Rock Album at the 2009 Grammy Awards and became the best-selling album of 2008. Coldplay asked Hopkins to serve as the pre-show DJ and opening act for their 2008 world tour. Hopkins toured with the band for six months through England, the United States, and Japan. He performed at venues including Madison Square Garden and the London O2 Arena, with crowds as large as 20,000 people.

In 2008 Hopkins was commissioned by choreographer Wayne McGregor to compose music for Entity, a production of McGregor's "Random Dance" group. Entity was performed live at Sadler's Wells in April 2008 to critical acclaim. A world tour followed throughout 2008 and 2009.

Hopkins also has co-writing or producing credits on albums by artists such as David Holmes and Dan Arborise. He is also known for remixing a variety of artists, including Wild Beasts, Nosaj Thing, Imogen Heap, Four Tet, and James Yorkston. He was also one of the few producers chosen by Radio 1's Rob Da Bank to remix film director David Lynch's first electronica release, "Good Day Today" / "I Know", which was released on Sunday Best Records.

Hopkins signed to Domino Records in late 2008. Hopkins's third album, Insides, was released by Domino Records on 5 May 2009. It included the track "Light Through the Veins", which had previously been used on the Coldplay album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. Some of the tracks had been written by Hopkins sporadically since his last release, while others were based on the music he had composed for the Entity production. Hopkins developed an intense live show to support the release, resulting in club and festival performances across Europe and the United States. He secured supporting slots with The xx, Röyksopp, and Four Tet. Many of his live shows used background visuals featuring the animations of Vince Collins.

In June 2009 Hopkins was invited by Brian Eno to play some solo shows at the Luminous Festival at the Sydney Opera House. A few weeks prior to leaving, Eno asked Hopkins to join with himself, Underworld's Karl Hyde, Leo Abrahams, and the Sydney-based improv trio The Necks in the group "Pure Scenius", the planned finale for the Luminous Festival. They then improvised music based on pre-planned themes, putting on three 1½-hour shows in the Opera House with Hyde on vocals. Pure Scenius was repeated a year later in Brighton, when Eno was curating the Brighton Festival.

In 2009 Hopkins collaborated with Brian Eno and Leo Abrahams to score the Peter Jackson film The Lovely Bones. In early 2010 Hopkins composed the score for the short film Rob and Valentyna in Scotland directed by Eric Lynne, which won an honourable mention for the short film-making award at Sundance. Also in 2010 Hopkins was commissioned to create the soundtrack for the British science fiction film Monsters, which was directed by Gareth Edwards. To create the score, Hopkins partly used string parts performed by arranger Davide Rossi and guitar by Leo Abrahams. The soundtrack album was released on 29 November 2010 on Domino Records. In 2011 the score was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award for Best Original Score.

Hopkins collaborated with Tunng on the EP Seven Gulps of Air in 2009, which was commissioned by designer Christopher Kelly for London Fashion Week. Seven Gulps of Air was listed as one of Drowned in Sound's singles of the year. In 2010 Hopkins collaborated with Leo Abrahams and Brian Eno to create the album Small Craft on a Milk Sea. Released on Warp Records in late 2010, the album is based on a three-week session of improvisation wherein the artists recorded about six hours of material a day.

In 2011 Hopkins collaborated with Scottish musician King Creosote to create the album Diamond Mine, which featured lyrics and vocals by Creosote sung over musical backdrops arranged and recorded by Hopkins. The album was a culmination of about seven weeks of work spread over seven years of recording and collaboration, from whenever the two artists had the opportunity to get together. The album was released on 28 March 2011 to acclaim, which included a glowing review from NPR. On 19 July 2011 Hopkins and Anderson were announced as nominees for the 2011 Barclaycard Mercury Prize, which is annually awarded for best album from the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Also in 2011, the EP Honest Words, a Hopkins collaboration with King Creosote, was released on Domino Records. In April 2012, this was followed by another collaboration with King Creosote: The Jubilee, also on Domino. Hopkins wrote the score for the 2013 film by Kevin Macdonald, How I Live Now.

Immunity is Hopkins' fourth studio album, released on 4 June 2013, by Domino Records. Among the artists that contributed vocals were long-time collaborator King Creosote, and Corin Roddick and Megan James of the band Purity Ring. It was recorded and produced in Hopkins' London studio, with Hopkins often using homemade sound effects or the natural sound of the room. Stated MixMag, "Immunity is an album of organic techno and exquisite mini-symphonies."

Immunity peaked at no. 13 on Top Electronic Albums by Billboard in the United States. In Britain it was nominated for the 2013 Mercury Prize for best album. The album met with a largely positive reception among critics, receiving perfect scores from Mixmag and MusicOMH, and 4/5 from The Guardian. Pitchfork Media described Immunity as a "remarkably visceral, sensual, confident electronic record," and MusicOMH called it a "modern classic". The video for the single 'Open Eye Signal' directed by Aoife McArdle won best cinematography at the UK Music Video Awards.

In 2014 Hopkins co-produced the song "Midnight" for Coldplay's 2014 album Ghost Stories, and released an EP titled Asleep Versions on 10 November. The EP includes (according to Domino Records) "four decelerated, dreamlike re-imaginings" of four tracks featured on his album Immunity. The EP has additional vocals from Raphaelle Standell-Preston of the band Braids & regular collaborator King Creosote, and artwork from Robert Hunter.

Hopkins has performed at music festivals such as Moogfest, Mutek, Beacons Festival, and Electric Zoo, and at venues such as Madison Square Garden and the London O2 Arena. As of 2014 he maintains a regular touring schedule both in England and internationally, playing at the Glastonbury Festival in June, with upcoming dates at the Pitchfork Music Festival, Electric Picnic and Time Music Festival and in 2015 at Wonderfruit in Thailand for the premiere of the iy_project, a collaboration with light artist, Chris Levine.
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Described by singer/songwriter Kenny Anderson (aka King Creosote) as the "soundtrack to a romanticized version of a life lived in a Scottish coastal village", Diamond Mine is a seven-track collection of previously unrecorded Anderson originals that have been doused in Brian Eno-inspired soundscapes by ambient producer Jon Hopkins, littered with rural field recordings and studded with occasional flourishes of accordions and strings. Languid, pastoral, and remarkably serene (each track segues into each other like ice melting on a spring pond), Diamond Mine is so unobtrusive that it barely registers. Anderson's lilting croon, which deftly blends traditional, Scottish folk stoicism with modern, indie folk candor, sits front and center, though his delivery is so even-handed that even he blends into the foliage, but on stand-out cuts like “John Taylor’s Month Away” and “Running on Fumes,” his deft lyricism and gift for guiding a melody through such open terrain helps to keep this lovely collection of ambient folk songs from disappearing into the ether.

Jon Hopkins n King Creosote - Diamond Mine (flac 161mb)

01 First Watch 2:37
02 John Taylor's Month Away 6:32
03 Bats In The Attic 3:43
04 Running On Fumes 6:36
05 Bubble 5:35
06 Your Own Spell 3:51
07 Your Young Voice 3:26

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Between Insides and its follow-up Immunity, Jon Hopkins worked with King Creosote on the charming Diamond Mine, which set the Scottish singer/songwriter's ruminations to backdrops that were half rustic folk and half evocative washes of sound. Immunity isn't nearly as acoustic as that collaboration was, but its gently breezy feel lingers on several of these songs: "Breathe This Air" expands from a pounding house rhythm into a roomy piano meditation that recalls Max Richter as much as Diamond Mine, while the title track -- which happens to feature King Creosote's vocals -- closes the album on a whispery note. This feeling extends to the rest of the album in less obvious ways; Immunity is often a more blended, and more expansive-sounding work than Insides, particularly on songs like the Brian Eno-esque "Abandon Window" and "Form by Firelight," which offers a playful study in contrasts in the way it bunches into glitches and then unspools a peaceful piano melody. Some of Immunity's most impressive moments expand on the blend of rhythm and atmosphere Hopkins emphasized on Insides: "Collider" uses sighing vocals courtesy of Dark Horses' Lisa Elle as punctuation for almost imperceptibly shifting beats and a heavy bassline that helps the track build into a moody, elegant whole; meanwhile, the aptly named "Sun Harmonics" turns Elle's sighs into something angelic over the course of 12 serene minutes. Despite these highlights, the album still reflects how Hopkins' polished approach is something of a blessing and a curse. Immunity shows how he's grown, in his subtle, accomplished way, as a composer and producer, yet its tracks occasionally feel like the surroundings for a focal point that never arrives. Even if it doesn't always demand listeners' attention, Immunity is never less than thoughtfully crafted.

Jon Hopkins - Immunity + Asleep Versions (flac  360 + 119mb)

01 We Disappear 4:50
02 Open Eye Signal 7:49
03 Breathe This Air 5:30
04 Collider 9:22
05 Abandon Window 4:57
06 Form By Firelight 5:45
07 Sun Harmonics 11:54
08 Immunity 9:57

On Asleep Versions, Hopkins shuns the beats and focuses on work more suitable for bedtime listening -- hence the title -- than a club setting, with subtle and tranquil versions of four tracks also featured on Immunity. The recordings were made at the Sundlaugin Studio just outside of Reykjavik -- made famous by Sigur Rós -- and perhaps their ethereal and minimalist aesthetics rubbed off on him. The recording is made as one long 25-minute piece, its individual tracks blending into one another seamlessly with reverb trails at the end of each track running into the next. Asleep Versions presents a consistent feeling, with stripped-back tracks featuring short piano motifs and melodies on beds of almost holy vocals. The release of the first two singles, "Breathe the Air" and "We Disappear" (which include vocals from Purity Ring and Lulu James, respectively), between Asleep Versions and Immunity was perhaps a precursor of what was to come. When listening, those versions bring a different emotive feeling, with the vocals being the main focus and perhaps distracting from the original feelings within the music. There is a feeling throughout that, at points, these tracks are lacking somewhat from the impressive Immunity, finding yourself waiting for the shuffling rhythmic drums to kick in. That said, this EP is beautifully crafted and, once again, with fantastic production.

09 Immunity (With King Creosote) 6:23
10 Form By Firelight (With Raphaelle Standell) 4:15
11 Breathe This Air (Asleep Version) 3:14
12 Open Eye Signal (Asleep Version) 11:02

Jon Hopkins - Immunity + Asleep Versions  (ogg  156 + 52mb)

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The music on the soundtrack is gentle, soothing and even fragile at times. There is plenty of closely-miked piano, strings, shuffling beats and a delicate touch of synthesized and post-processed sounds. The beauty of one melody can slowly recede, dissolve and even blend into another emotion. Suddenly the bass palpitates, and as one thought takes over another, the tempo picks up, along with the heartbeat pulsating in your veins. Soon a whirlpool of sound swallows all sentiment whole, finally releasing the passion in one single sigh, as if one final breath. Now atmospheric darkness cloaks the passage, and somewhere behind a wooden door, the piano shares its troubles with a couple of consoling violins.

Featuring some of his darkest, most nihilistic work to date, the score is built from two contrasting elements – atonal, sub-terrestrial drones with a backbone of pounding rhythms, and sublimely pastoral acoustic piano. These two opposing musical forces guide the viewer through the film, by turns disturbing and beautifully meditative.

  Jon Hopkins - How I Live Now (OST)       (flac  224mb)

01 Do It With A Rockstar by Amanda Palmer 4:25
02 The Field 1:47
03 The River 1:51
04 Rain And Ash 2:42
05 The Hawk 1:33
06 Distant Fire 0:47
07 Nightfall / Love Theme 1:08
08 Taken Away 2:37
09 Home by Daughter (Jon Hopkins Remix) 3:04
10 Escape 2:59
11 The Forest / Plane Wreck 2:50
12 Gatesfield 4:25
13 Hunted 1:41
14 Lost Map / The Hawk 3:48
15 How I Live Now 4:34
16 Garden's Heart (feat Natasha Khan) 3:53

Jon Hopkins - How I Live Now (OST)  (ogg  93mb)

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It would be an understatement to say that Jon Hopkins' career turned a corner between the release of his first mix album, The Art of Chill 2, and the release of his second one, a volume in the LateNightTales series. For starters, from late 2005 through early 2015, the producer/musician made albums with Brian Eno and King Creosote, composed music for a dance production and films, and released the well-regarded solo recordings Insides and Immunity. LateNightTales is Hopkins' first "proper" mix album since the tracks for The Art of Chill 2 were dealt to him. This time, Hopkins selected and mixed, and added his own touches, including piano and synthesizer, to enhance the continuous dream-like sequence. Even the contrasting consecutive picks -- like Darkstar's glistening, skyward "Hold Me Down" and Holy Other's dragging, alien "Yr Love" -- are compatible, their transitions made with ease. The majority of the mix is beatless and becalmed with periodic surges in energy that never startle. The Four Tet's "Gillie Amma, I Love You," drifting and hypnotizing with children's melodic whispers, is an ideal set-up for School of Seven Bells' bright-eyed, windswept dream pop. Hopkins inserts an exclusive of his own, a quiet, multi-piano cover of Yeasayer's "I Remember" that would highlight any ambient compilation released on Kranky, Kompakt, or Ghostly. Rick Holland, another Eno collaborator, provides the closing reading of a piece he wrote, which just happens to share its title with the Yeasayer original.

Jon Hopkins - Late Night Tales (flac  482mb)

01 Ben Lukas Boysen - Sleepers Beat Theme 2:11
02 Darkstar - Hold Me Down 3:39
03 Holy Other - Yr Love 4:21
04 Teebs - Verbena Tea 4:18
05 Nils Frahm - More 1:47
06 Songs Of Green Pheasant - I Am Daylights 2:42
07 Jónsi & Alex - Daníell In The Sea 3:32
08 Evenings - Babe 3:13
09 Letherette - After Dawn 4:37
10 Jon Hopkins - I Remember (Yeasayer Cover Version) 4:02
11 David Holmes - Hey Maggy 4:44
12 Alela Diane - Lady Divine 5:05
13 Four Tet - Gillie Amma I Love You 4:20
14 School Of Seven Bells - Connjur 4:29
15 Peter Broderick - And It's Alright (Nils Frahm Remix) 4:35
16 HEALTH - Before Tigers (Gold Panda Remix) 3:27
17 Last Days - Missing Photos 1:06
18 Bibio - Down To The Sound 2:09
19 A Winged Victory For The Sullen - Requiem For The Static King Part One 1:40
20 Helios - Emancipation 2:35
21 Rick Holland - I Remember (Exclusive Spoken Word Piece) 3:37

Jon Hopkins - Late Night Tales  (ogg  204mb)


Jon Hopkins - LateNightTales Continuous Mix  (flac  411mb)

01 LateNightTales (Continuous Mix) 72:18

Jon Hopkins - LateNightTales Continuous Mix  (ogg  157mb)

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Charles said...

Fantastic stuff. I was hoping you'd post these Hopkins records. Diamond Mine is one of the most beautiful records I've heard in years. I haven't heard these Asleep Versions, nor the Late Night Tales, so I'm really looking forward to it. Thanks again for this and everything else on your amazing site!

Josh said...

In my opinion, Immunity is one of the best electronic records I've heard. At least, it is definitely Jon's best work.

Thanks for this, Rho.