After a decade of toiling away on the London electronica scene to pretty much total apathy, multi-instrumentalist/producer Jon Hopkins then found himself co-producing Coldplay’s Viva La Vida or Death To All His Friends, recording the soundtrack to Gareth Edwards’ critically-acclaimed sci-fi flick Monsters, and earning a Mercury Prize nomination for Diamond Mine, his collaborative LP with King Creosote, all within the space of three years.
This whirlwind period undoubtedly appears to have inspired some of his fourth solo effort, Immunity. The aforementioned Scottish singer-songwriter lends his ethereal tones to the plaintive Sigur Ros-esque title track finale, while there’s a certain cinematic quality to the glacial piano-driven soundscape of “Abandon Window” and the calm before the storm melancholy of “Breathe This Air.”
Described by Jon Hopkins as “the perfect accompaniment to the idealized night out,” Immunity is a much more abrasive and aggressive dancefloor-focused effort than we’ve become accustomed to elsewhere. Indeed, the burbling warped synths and driving bass-lines of lead single “Open Eye Signal,” which lulls the listener into a false sense of security before gathering its heady pace, certainly fits in with the 33-year-old’s hedonistic intentions, as does the hospital bleeps and glitchy nocturnal percussion of the intense opener, “We Disappear.”
But the meandering “Collide” wanders around aimlessly for ten minutes in the manner of a group of indecisive revellers unsure of which four-to-the-floor techno joint to head to next. The equally torturously long sunset chill of “Sun Harmonics” proves that self-indulgence is just as much a problem for Jon Hopkins during the morning after as it is the night before.
Immunity, therefore, is unlikely to build on the momentum achieved by working with the world’s biggest stadium rock band and scoring films about alien life forms that have landed along the US/Mexico border. But although it occasionally outstays its welcome, it’s still a lushly-produced affair which should ensure he doesn’t have to retreat back to the underground, either.