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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Post techno Kite marked and "minfluential" .. That's minimally influential in a God like way!, 16 April 2014
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This review is from: Immunity (Audio CD)
When I first heard Hopkins's earlier album Contact Note (2004) there was almost something prescient that he would garner critical acclaim; his music had a nascent technical artistry that captured the early noughties avant garde zeitgeist. Two UK Mercury Prize nominations later, one in collaboration, it can be safely said that this boy wonder is starting to receive some recognition.

As an opening track 'We Disappear', with its Autechre like drum patterning sequences, rolls on thick the trademark drum squelches in a four-four to the floor techno rhythm and foreboding synth lead before segueing effortlessly into one of the stunning tracks on the album called 'Open Eye Signal' which is 7 minutes and 48 seconds of squelch apotheosis constructed around a motoric beat of the Krautrock school. According to a Guardian paper review it took 6 weeks of incessant sculpturing to perfect the bass into the sexiest darkest anthemic line to ever graced any hi-fi of mine, and that the inestimable Trentemoller might tickle for. Hopkins's suite of Kaoss pads pour forth a left-field riot adding loads of effected textures and filter manipulations to "totilate" (omnipresent saturate) the listener's senses. This is the consummate live DJ mixing musical ideas on the fly but with all the control of detail you might find in a GANNT chart - see the set of 'Open Eye Signal' (Live on KEXP) at [...]

Next on the T-table of dark techno is a track calked 'Breathe This Air' which showcases sparse reverb sound effected punctuations of lingering piano notes and petite explosions while the heavily processed drums merge with a shifting transposed bass figure. The lilting piano motif fades out to usher in another crazy track called 'Colider' which starts with all the flourish of a rattle-shaker - its frenetic percussiveness and backwards tape op effects overdubbing intermittently with a formant expulsion of air. Underpinning this are two intertwined synth horn leads: one heavily oscillating in a filter - which once in a while releases a thunder crack - while a secondary synth produces the baroque simplicity of a Pachelbel canon as it weaves in and out of the thumping squeezed out drum pattern. This song's daring audacity, makes you want to go and punch the fairy lights out of every anodyne number 1 that has ever disgraced the Top 40 and sneer .. "See??"

'Abandon Window' changes the mood ever so downwards and in-wards into one of Sigur Ros's more poignant legato piano moments. It has all the tender and haunting heartfelt ness that is sure to be covered by visual makers for its pure ability to evoke the ineffable past... the ambient treatment of this song can only be described as Eno-esque. Next, 'Form By Firelight' references to my mind the combined skill sets of Jan Jelinek, Apparat and Aphex Twin in its glitch tonal sequencing while the impression of an industrial hammer and anvil plays a game of tig with the synth melody.

'Sun Harmonics' sets off to a lo-fi Casio rhythm which then slides into a groovy drum pattern before the introduction of child-like hook of looping notes that uncannily resemble U2s 'Bad'! To my taste this is possibly the least significant track on the album but I guess Hopkins knows what he is doing as the chord pattern is actually inspired by an alarm on a reversing lorry outside his studio.

Last but not least is the namesake 'Immunity' with a dose of meditative World Music tribalism similar to Moby's 'Play' album (1999). A defenceless falsetto blues lyric delicately makes its mark over the reverb drenched atmospheric piano and squelch percussion. This is another song that so achingly grips the vulnerable that it is sure to be doled out somrwhere as a moving accompaniment to a rain forest dawn chorus and melting ice cap trapped polar bear story.

Hopkins's music is by turns decidedly reflective, limpidly meditative and deeply deeply abrasive in it use of post industrial techno soundscapes and found samples that may baulk somewhat with those liking a consistency of extended tender moments. This album, however, further leaves the impression of a strong flair for composition which is already being applied to other musical genres in film and dance. It will be interesting to watch what future direction he will take - that collaboration with Jonsi must surely be on the horizon?

6 stars for another stunner after 'Insides' please...
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