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on 8 June 2013
Hmmmm...All artists have to progress and Jon Hopkins is moving forward I guess.. sadly he's leaving me behind in his wake and this will be the last of his albums that I'll buy. I loved "Opalescent" and "Contact Note", liked most of "Insides" but on this new album he's taken the worst aspects of tracks 3 and 5 from "Insides" and built a whole album round them. Clicks, whirrs, jarring beats, off-kilter rhythms and distorted sound samples with precious little melody are the order of the day. Only one track (the wonderful Abandon Windows) comes close to anything on Contact Note. Sun Harmonics is OK. The rest I will never play again and , to my ears anyway, borders on the unlistenable. There are people who love this kind of thing and that's fine, good luck to them . From my personal point of view I was hoping for something a little more like the older albums and feel disappointed with this one. A pity.
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on 16 November 2014
This is a double CD, consisting of the unadulterated album ('Immunity') and a CD maxi-single/EP ('Asleep versions', with four new mix versions of tracks in 'Immunity' totalling another 25 mins of music). The new mixes are chill, minimal, occasionally beautiful, and entirely listenable -- abt 3.5 stars overall. But they're not essential like the original album, which is extraordinary (5 stars) [please consult the previous reviews for that original release]. It really is another ruse by the industry to plonk down again for the same offering, with a few extra tracks. The extra CD sits in the other side of the gatefold cover, and, like the original LP, has its own sleeve. No other changes. Is it worth it (at time of writing, 8 quid)? Marginally, if you're a completist and if only because the original album is so excellent: one could always give the extra disc as modest gift. But why not sell the 'Asleep versions' CD for just a few quid?
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on 27 June 2013
In simple terms, this album has not built on his previous work. It has a little more attitude, like a teenager going through puberty, but that doesn't mean the music has matured. Its a shame really.
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on 16 April 2014
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 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 somewhere 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 its use of post industrial techno soundscapes and found samples that some may baulk at with a liking for more extended tender moments. This album further enhances a reputation for 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 will be taken - that collaboration with Jonsi must surely be on the horizon!

6 stars for another stunner after 'Insides' please...
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on 17 June 2013
I first discovered Jon's music a couple of years ago and, like many, was enamoured by Opalescent. It was melodic and ethereal without being 'new age', and struck a great balance between emotion and electronics. Likewise with Contact Note, which I saw as a decent step forward for Jon's sound. When Insides hit in 2009, I was at first shocked by the harder-hitting more industrial sound but soon fell in love with that album too (particularly Light Through the Veins which I play almost daily on my commute).

So here we are in 2013, and Immunity is finally upon us. I've read a few customer reviews and some seem disappointed by Jon's slightly 'glitchier' sound, but I personally see this as a huge step forward. Rather than being synthetic and false-sounding like some downtempo artists, Jon uses real-world sounds to create a far more organic feeling that permeates the disc. Tracks like 'Open Eye Signal' and 'Sun Harmonics' benefit from these inclusions. Additionally we're treated to Jon's masterful use of the piano, and the closer - 'Immunity' - is now firmly one of my favourite Hopkins tracks. Sure, it's a slow burner, but this is music that's meant to be listened to more than once; it's an album you really need to immerse yourself in. One listen just won't cut it.

If you're still on the fence about Immunity, I urge you to spin it a few more times before casting judgement. It's a journey that may take a while to get underway, but once it does, it's one you'll want to take again and again.

Top-notch stuff, Jon; long may it continue.
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on 14 July 2013
There seem to be two periods that Hopkin's solo albums fall into; "Opalescent" and "Contact Note" are the first pair and shimmer with an elegiac beauty that transcends nearly all other electronica. Hopkins was reputedly disenchanted with the lukewarm response to these works and responded with 2009's "Insides" and this latest "Immunity" this year (2013). Both are harder sounding, crunchy, and superficially more edgy than the warm and immersive comfort of the first two. "Immunity" is a superb album, rhythmically intricate, sparse at times, but always underpinned by a classical sensibility that comes through with the use of piano and poignant melodies. This is no Basic Channel: this is the sound of a fantastic British artist producing wonderful music that is staggering under-recognised.

Heard through dCS/Bryston/ATC, this is an extremely clean, dynamic and sharply etched modern recording, full of spatial and textural detail, but never sounding coarse or uncomfortable. There is little musical hyperbole with loads of low frequency speaker-stretching, but not so crude as to become comic. This is a wonderfully subtle and maturely recorded electronica album, with plenty of contrast in the mix. Overall levels have not compressed things too much so there's a good dynamic range to be heard. A great system test if you're into that kind of thing.....
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on 3 July 2013
It's not very often that I would describe music as beautiful, but there are certainly points in this album that are touching on it. It's just so simple there's not many other ways to describe it.
Some of the tracks only have three or four layers, but some of them seem to have so many it's almost like a net of music that you could pick your way through. The way that the album flows is great. I haven't come across an album that's produced this well for a while. The instrumentation (although electronic) is great, with some of the sounds feeling almost organic.
One of my favourite tracks on the album is 'Sun Harmonics', which is nearly twelve minutes long, but doesn't feel like it. It just flows with it's simple drum beat and mystic background synths. This track reminds me at times of Orbital, and at other times of Gold Panda, both of which are good.
A slight concern I have is that anyone who's not a fan of ambient music is going to struggle to find this album accessible. I'm a fan of artists like Boards of Canada and Autechre, so I'm fairly well versed in this and nothing was a surprise for me. My advise would be to get a decent set of headphones, a nice view, and just settle down, relax and let the album unfold as you follow it's progression. That's what I've done, and I loved it. Certainly one of my albums of the year to date.
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on 29 December 2013
Hmmm, I can kind of see why this is critically acclaimed, but i'm not sure why there are not more people doubting it's listenability. Personally, I found the loud beat driven parts a bit brash and annoying, while the quiet parts (beautiful though they be) were a little too meandering for my liking.

I did think the last 10 minutes was the high point, but not enough to warrant keeping this album. I found myself feeling 'relieved' when the quiet tracks came in, which is not an emotion associated with enjoyment, and I was thankful for the gentle second half of the album. That said, the second half didn't seem punctuated with too much to engage, and while it sat easily as background music, chugging along in places, the tone of it was generally too solemn for my tastes. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy some introspective music, but I just can't imagine when I would put this album on.

I appreciate the effort that has gone into crafting this record (but then all good music should require effort), sadly it wasn't something I felt any attachment to, as I simply don't enjoy listening to it. Some people would say it's a challenging listen and to stick with it, but sometimes you just know that, no matter how many times you listen to it, it won't change your opinion. Sorry Jon.
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on 1 July 2013
`Immunity' is the surprisingly bold fourth album from Jon Hopkins. Hopkins' albums are usually a laid-back affair, but `Immunity' is certainly his most direct album yet.

`We disappear' opens the album in style, crunchy clipped beats and pulsating bass rips through any melancholy thoughts you may have. The crisp `Open Eye Signal' continues the more dancefloor-friendly side to Hopkins, an even better track full of grinding synths and driving bass. `Breathe This Air' has the same propulsive rhythm as the opening track, but with a lilting piano melody. Hopkins goes for glory with `Collider', some very comfortably sensual breathing is looped together with slowly evolving synths. A pounding crunchy bass focuses the track and builds itself up into an almighty maelstrom.
And then its a dramatic change for the second half of the album, and some more familiar music to anyone who's listened to Hopkins' previous albums. The cinematic `Abandon Window' is a serene piano piece, the equally reflective `Form By Firelight' has more uptempo piano but overshadowed by layers of intricate sounds. `Sun Harmonics' is the only track that fails to register, the title track `Immunity' ends this fine album with King Creosote adding some dreamy vocals.

The first half of `Immunity' is a surprising and entertaining change of direction for Jon Hopkins, who's created a confident album with an unerring focus. `Immunity' is a perfectly executed album with plenty to keep you intrigued.
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on 11 October 2015
Listen closely to this album and you will find that it has not been produced - it has been crafted. With love and precision. You can sense the thought that is gone into this with the end result being an album that is completely immersive and does not let you resurface until it is finished. There are no tracks that "jar" you back to reality for being out of place or of poor quality: everything is perfect and interlaced

Put simply, "Immunity" is the reason why terms like "hidden gem" were coined. Seeing as I've only just discovered this album and indeed Jon Hopkins himself, it makes me wonder: what else have I been missing?
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