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4.5 out of 5 stars
Opalescent
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
This album was bought on an annoyingly enthusiastic recommendation from a mate so, as you can imagine, my expectations were both very high and negative - not the best combination when listening to an album for the first time.
However, I have to admit 'Opalescent' is a remarkable album which show maturity that should be far beyond the youth of Jon Hopkins. Despite its 'chill out' label, the album is actually far more musical than one has any right to expect, and in this way retains an originality that bands such as zero 7 and groove armada can only hope for.
It is a laid back and relaxing record - but this does not do it justice for it's subtle complexities demand listening rather than just hearing - and thus 'opalescent' is far more than simply 'background music'.
In fact, this stands up against any ambient or 'chill out' (or whatever you want to call it) record in the last decade - and can conceivably be held to come out on top!! An awesome listening experience.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 5 March 2004
This album was bought on an Amazon recommendation, the description at the time didn't do it justice, I defy anyone looking for a varied listening experience to dislike this album, it has a polished production style, beautifully constructed percussion and beats, dreamy and haunting melodies, great when you need to be uplifted, great when you need to calm down. For a first album this is an absolute belter and really does deserve the praise already given. I am very much looking forward to the next album which I believe Jon is working on at the moment, he has set himself a high standard on the first outing, but I am hoping he can excell himself, fingers crossed.
Reviewers have said that this is the album William Orbit should have made to finish the strange Cargo series. I see their point, but the two are very different, and both are now vying with each other in my collection for late night and sunny afternoon plays, I think there may be no answer, they will just have to take turns.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2003
Jon hopkins is a genius! i've decided - opalescent conveys a maturity that is not easily believed if one considers jon's age. A beautiful ambient/chill out album which is surely going to become a cult classic.
sorely underated i guess because of its difficult to market sound. It's originality prevents it ever becoming cliched. i heard him first on one of those chill out compilations but he really is vastly superior to his opposition who's albums seem to consist of no more than two or three good tracks. there really isn't a bad track on opalescent.
ok so u might think i'm getting carried away - just give it a try and see whether you agree. Even the eco-friendly packaging is great - what more can i say?
a hugely ambitious and successful project! and a very welcome suprise to a lot of the rubbish in the charts at the moment.
Sultry, sexy and perfect to unwind to - an awesome achievement!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2008
What a pleasant surprise it was to discover this fine budding artist.

The review title says it all, really: if you like either of those artists, you'll probably like Jon Hopkins. Specifically, the overlaying of guitar material with electronica echoes The Campfire Headphase, and the general harmonic feel (along with the pervasively dreamy mood) is very Schnauss, but at the same time, a distinctive voice peeps through the cracks.

I'll be following this man's output very closely in the coming years. In the meantime, you can start by buying this album if you haven't already.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2005
Just picked up this album after a friend pointed me in its direction. Bought it from the labels web site after checking out the samples. Some great stuff on here. It's clear that Mr.Hopkins is obviously a very talented musician. Musically this album is very accomplished - Nice acoustic guitar parts, Pianos & other instruments as well as plenty of ambient synthesisers & subtle drum programming. Gorgeous melodies throughout & on the whole it has a very uplifting & gentle vibe. Fans of Ulrich Schnauss's 2nd album (A strangely isolated place) will probably be right at home with this.
Another reviewer already mentioned one track was used on a TV series (Sex & the city) & I would be surprised if the name Jon Hopkins did not start appearing on film soundtracks before long (if indeed it has not already). On the strength of this album I'd say his talents would be well suited to film scoring.
My only gripe is that things get a little too fluffy in parts. In places the melodies are so sickly sweet it feels like the music is trying just a bit to hard to reach europhic hights of ambient bliss! In other places things veer dangerously close to the kind of Ambient noodlings you might expect to find in the sort of shops that specialise in Incense, crystals & literature on the secrets of opening your third eye! Personally I like my Ambient & Electronica a little less floaty than this & slightly more challenging but that’s just my personal opinion. This definitely goes right at the 'floaty' end of my Ambient/Electronica music collection (right next to 'A strangely isolated place'). It's certainly a very nice album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
fans of spacey synth-based ambient that doesn't decend into chaotic buzz-click sequenced random BS (as alot of supposed electronica does) will enjoy this
...Compares with Ulrich Schnauss at his more spacey
(like einfeld) occassionally adding elements akin to trip hop as a backbeat (a tad formulaeic (sp?)) and even on Halcyon a guitar akin to Durrutti Column. Very accessible and not massively challenging. Much will end up on (already has?) adverts/films and if that bothers you then stop watching tv then...
This is safe and very listenable electronica with broad chord sequences that intelligently try to convey emotion and imagery...its fairly safe, but then the whole album is enjoyable unlike some ambient electronica cds where you get say three mind-blowing pieces surrounded by 10+ periods of dada-esque digital diaorrhea...
checkout some clips on YouTube...I did then bought it.

ps I would refute this is "New Age" crystal-shop music...
This is of a far higher calibre, quality and intelligence...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This album has become a close friend over the past few months. It has the ability to both calm and rise the spirits. And should be placed in the "Chillout Hall of Fame" alongside such greats as Mike Oldfield, Vangelis and Jean Michel Jarre. Without a doubt the best album to be influenced by the Ibiza genre of music.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2008
My main grip with this on the first listen was that it was all a bit too nice. Since then I've grown to appreciate the beauty of much of this. It reminds me of William Orbit's Strange Cargo 1,2 & 3. I just wish that there was a bit more edge to some of it to contrast the other parts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I pretty much ditto all the previous reviews of this album.
I heard one track (cold out there) on a online radio station and decided to purchase the album and I'm so glad I did.
For someone who is only 21 Jon manages to produce an album of maturity and enlightenment.
I defy anyone not to be blown away by the compositions, the atmosphere and the beats Mr Hopkins lays down track after track.
For Ambient/Chillout purists it may well be a bit "floaty" but to me this is what makes it so good to listen to.
One other thing to mention, if you have kids who are having trouble sleeping, then play this album, my 12 week old son is asleep with 15 minutes, guarenteed!
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on 21 July 2015
I feel compelled to weigh in with a negative review after "blind" buying this on a recommendation, if only to warn people. In my personal opinion, this album is bland. The product description going on about how this album "uniquely combines the light with the dark, the beautiful with the mysterious, in a glorious atmosphere where the worlds of trip hop beats and chill out are made Jon's own personal domain. Sometimes eerie, sometimes majestic, but always profoundly musical" should have given it away, but sadly I did not read it or the reviews here before listening. In case you're interested, the music's never dark in any way unless you classify "teenage love sickness" under that moniker. But I guess the concept "dark" is not well defined and everybody has his or her own opinion on the topic.

To go on, I can understand the appeal this music has for some people, but upon listening I felt I heard it all before. You'd expect to hear this inoffensive "mood music" after being put on hold by the customer service, or in a wellness centre with mood lighting and water gently flowing over some stones, or maybe on a nature video with pebbles flowing and little birds learning to fly... I guess you catch my drift. To me, all the tracks sound interchangeable and polished up to the point of anonymity. Every song seems to be playing the same trick.

If you're late to get into electronic music (perhaps stepping up from mainstream) and/or like your Ulrich Schnauss (I saw his name appearing on a few reviews and completely get the reference) then you will probably like this. If, on the other hand, you like 90's electronic music such as Autechre, System 7, FSOL, ... or perhaps something more recent (Clark) then I would seriously recommend you to check this out before you decide NOT to buy.
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