When Jon Hopkins visited us two years ago, we got a glimpse of his maniacal stage movements as he jerkily stabbed the four Kaoss Pads before him at The Substation. But while the English producer appears a man of peculiar, oddball behaviour, he breathes gentle soul in his musical exhalation. At its core, Hopkins’ music is centred on the invention and discovery of obscure sounds, but he also samples everyday clang and clatter, pulling together pieces of the real world to keep his tunes from falling on the wrong side of crazy.
Immunity, his fifth and latest record, comes stocked with a more refined taste in exquisitely wacky sounds. The many nine-minute-long tracks on the LP transcend the ethereal, which he attributes to working on instincts and following stray whims with neither worry nor fear.
‘I try to follow any thought I have until it reaches its conclusion – no matter how strange it seems – to make it the most honest form of music,’ Hopkins explains. ‘Being open to sounds around me and putting them into music is like the reality of the world making its way into my imaginative soundscape.’
It was Immunity that garnered Hopkins a Mercury Prize nomination last year, when he found himself squared against a torrent of rock bands and loud guitars. The win eventually went to fellow electronic producer James Blake for Overgrown, but Hopkins was nevertheless pleased that electronic music had nudged itself up a notch in the eyes of the public.
That’s not to say Hopkins is about to coddle the mainstream, though. Far from it. In true quirky fashion, the producer believes Immunity is best heard lying on the floor while you study and gauge the effect the tracks have on your brain – in fact, it’s a pastime he enjoys after every recording session. You’re more than welcome to try it… perhaps at his gig here. Darren Ng
Part of the NoPartyHere Nomad series.