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Any of Coldplay's more traditional fans slightly bewildered by the more experimental touches Brian Eno brought to Viva La Vida must have been completely confused when the band chose that album's other co-producer Jon Hopkins to open their concerts last year. For a purveyor of radio-friendly rock this London-based composer and producer most certainly is not.
Rather, over the course of two previous solo albums and studio work for artists as disparate as King Creosote and David Holmes, Hopkins has made his name crafting sounds which belong somewhere between contemporary classical and electronica's more abrasive extremes, an entire world away from the enormous stadiums to which his newfound friends took him on tour.
That's not to say Hopkins isn't capable of producing music as epic, soaring and emotional as any power ballad in his own way though. Take Light Through The Veins for example - the centrepiece of his new solo album and the track that apparently convinced Coldplay to get him onboard. A close relative of Ulrich Schnauss' In All The Wrong Places, it's a majestic piece of widescreen shoegazing which grows ever more expansive throughout its entire ten minute duration.
There are other melodic moments as well, particularly when this classically-trained musician takes to the piano on closing track Autumn Hill, a work which recalls his mentor Brian Eno's collaborations with Harold Budd. Yet even Autechre obsessives - let alone Coldplay fans - might find the churning dissonance in Colour Eye or the title track's serrated teeth disorientating. But then Insides clearly hasn't been made to appeal to those who only know his name through association with Chris Martin and co; for no amount of reflected glory could ever fully illuminate Insides' mysterious depths. --Paul Clarke
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Top Customer Reviews
With Insides Jon Hopkins cuts lose- everything from hard beat electronica to folk, from pulsing ambient dark trance to traditional Japanese instrumentation is used to explore new ground with enough interest to captivate most fans of the previous two albums...Think Ulrich Schnauss meets the better "soft" tracks by Plaid (Sincetta, Zamami without going too far/experimental/nuts like plaid can), but with Jon Hopkins' effortless, smooth arrangement. It like the album I hoped Plaid had made..beautiful but without the random noodling...Low Places is utter genius...this is music that moves, takes you, haunts you...
I love it, but the wife finds some bits a little edgy/ too electronic as Jon experiments with breakbeat/jazz percussion patterns, some with hardcore analogue synth sounds, so be warned spa owners and new agers...its not all smooth going. If you like an "edge" to chilled music then its here...every so often deft touches of piano smooth the buzz.
For anyone with an open mind and an appreciation of really beautiful music I highly recommend this album...something for a seriously good pair of headphones and no interruptions...Schnauss, Plaid, Port-Royal,Cocteaus/Guthrie/Rumskib types,Lunz, ambient, chilled electronica fans please enjoy...
ps For anyone disappointed in Jon Hopkins' new exploratory direction there is an ep of three tracks more akin to his pevious material, one track of which "fairytale" is utterly beautiful and highly recommended..
I would advise that even though its tempting to buy an LP (I did), buy a CD of this music, which is (after all) recorded digitally, you won't miss anything. The reason for this is that Hopkins music is something to be heard in a long flowing movement, which develops, not unlike a symphony, and the reason the CD is possibly the best place to enjoy these digital sounds/compositions. Having said that I love getting up from the sofa to turn the record over - just like in the old days!
Lastly if you want to know more about the music I suggest you a) read the other reviews, and b) have a listen on Spotify. Otherwise, if you're curious, just jump in and buy this one, its certainly a mature vision of modern electronica open to all.
I can also thoroughly recommend Jon's Contact Note, an excellent record.
Though some of the tracks lapse into over-reliance on macho drums to drive the tracks most sustain themselves with beautiful colours and transitions and, most important of all, some compelling musical ideas. "The Low Places" in particular is haunting and uplifting in equal measure. The soft piano timbre and ambient detail - the creaking piano stall, traffic outside the window, the car horn that turns into a strand of harmonic detail (all of which may be real or contrived) - superb imaginative work that feels very contemporary.
No vocals, some well recorded solo strings and a spectrum of electronic and found sounds to tantalise the most jaded palette. It works as a complete album listening experience and bears repeated listening.
Liking this a lot. It's something a bit different. One of the other reviewers doesn't like the 'glitchyness' but I would say it sounds pretty fresh and gives it a real edge. Really like the tracks that merge ambient hooks with dubstep breaks and speaker-popping basslines. I listened to this on a set of studio monitors and it blew me away.
This CD is going to travel with me for quite a while.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not quite as good as some of his others but the light through veins(?) is probably worth the price of admission alone.Published 3 months ago by dr_schoen
Brilliant music. 10/10. Better than Immunity, but on a par with Contact note, and Late night tales.
Buy this album if you like ambient music.
One of my favourite albums in my collection and listen to it often. Chillout with out being sloppy or limp.Published 18 months ago by LongtimeFan
previous albums fantastic but I'm not so sure about this..It grates and is jarring on several tracks trying to change style to do something unnecessarily, I think. Read morePublished on 23 Oct. 2010 by Tonkers