© 2023 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Jon Hopkins: Ethereal Tones, Grimy Rhythms

Months ago, while Joe Satriani and Yusuf Islam were crying plagiarism against Coldplay's album Viva La Vida, a real influence went unnoticed: Jon Hopkins. Brian Eno invited Hopkins to co-produce Viva La Vida, and Hopkins' song "Light Through the Veins" wound up inspiring the disc's opener, "Life in Technicolor." But this didn't happen by chance; Hopkins is a classically trained pianist with a sixth sense for composing. Hard-nosed, experimental electronica just happens to be his drug of choice.

Hopkins' third album, Insides, is built around an unlikely combination of ethereal tones and grimy rhythms. The atmospheric title track lumbers with a beat that's 50 stories tall; each gruff bass note hits like a defibrillator to the brain, with subtle glitches providing aftershocks. The music breathes erratically as the rhythmic stomps start to thrash. An astral chorus reaches for the heavens, but everything sputters to a halt, leaving a single note to whisper in solitude. It's all cinematic tension, but without the gory violence.

Listen to yesterday's Song of the Day, and subscribe to the Song of the Day newsletter. Click here to subscribe to Anthony Fantano's Needle Drop podcast from WNPR.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anthony Fantano