Jon Hopkins started playing piano at age 5. As a musical child prodigy he entered the Royal College of Music at age 12 and studied classical piano. This creative genius has had quite an interesting trajectory. He collaborated with Imogen Heap when he was under 20, and then began writing and composing for his solo effort. He has worked with Brian Eno a number of times, most notably he co-wrote Eno’s most recent A Small Craft on the Sea and the soundtrack for the Peter Jackson film The Lovely Bones. They played together at the Sydney Opera House. He has also worked with Coldplay, co-produced Viva La Vida and was the opening act for their Madison Square Garden show. Recently, he released Diamond Mine with King Creosote. Other artists he’s collaborated with are Nosaj Thing, Wild Beasts, David Lynch and Four Tet. He recently wrote the OST for the British film Monsters and is about to release a new album this year.
Jon Hopkins 2001 debut album Opalescent was mainly ambient music, creating infinite landscapes. The follow-up, Contact Note was a bit more upbeat and structured, with notes that were filled with spirituality and clear-mindedness. In his latest release, Insides, Hopkins took it to a new level. Incorporating his classical training as a pianist and mixing it with heavy-bass synthesized electronica.
Insides is a modern masterpiece of electronic music. The album opens with a peaceful set of strings that on song two include a soothing piano. This is “Vessel”, the album’s most attractive and jaw-dropping song. A five minute exploration of classical piano, organic background music and electronic beats that slowly lead into an explosion that is to be a feast for your ears. The album then continues offering big surprises. “Light Through Veins” includes the original keyboards that were used in the intro and outro of Coldplay’s Viva la Vida. We find some songs that are led by a tranquil piano, and others that are led by industrial, effected drum kits and apocalyptic synth lines, crossing genres and expectations. The album is all around beautiful and dense. It’s worth dissecting and will therefore need many many listens. Only a true genius can explore all these aspects in music and not have it sound pretentious or forced. Hopkins’ music is unique and that is what has led him to such wonderful projects in such a short time. Please, listen to Insides below.