Jon Hopkins’ career has sure been interesting. The dude has been a sideman and collaborator for a myriad of artists, including Coldplay, Brian Eno, and King Cresote, but he’s also a classically trained former child prodigy. These may initially read as red flags for Hopkins’ solo endeavors to some uninitiated listeners, but the man’s personal compositions have proven to be beautifully minimal slices of electronica. “Open Eye Signal,” from Hopkins’ upcoming album Immunity, is a perfect example of his collaborative work coalescing into something much different from the sum of its parts. Sure, the track is content to ride a singular beat into the ground, but unlike many of his modern IDM peers, Hopkins doesn’t bury or destroy his groove with glitches or drops. Instead, Hopkins creates a delicately shifting stasis around his beats through the use of alternately ethereal and buzzing synths. This restraint also seems reflective of Hopkins’ classical background: trained classical musicians know that performing slow minimal pieces is often more difficult than executing technical flights of fancy, because the material must be played delicately and in a non-virtuosic manner to achieve the best musical results. Similarly, other electronic artists may have crescendo’d into oblivion with the same material, but in the vein of likeminded contemporaries such as Andy Stott or Kieran Hebden, Hopkins realizes that sometimes the static is the most powerful and interesting material of all.
Immunity is out June 3 via Domino. You can listen to “Open Eye Signal” below: