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Jon Hopkins ‘Late Night Tales’ – Album Review

Late Night Tales (2015)

Following the success of his Mercury Prize-nominated breakthrough Immunity, along with his production work on Coldplay’s last record, ambient techno maestro Jon Hopkins continues to raise his profile by becoming the latest contributor to the most interesting compilation series on the market, Late Night Tales.

Not that there’s anything particularly commercial about his choice of 21 tracks, with only a few names (Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi, indie shoegazers School of Seven Bells) likely to be recognisable to anyone without an extensive knowledge of the downtempo electronica scene.

But what Jon Hopkins’ Late Night Tales lacks in familiarity, it makes up for in cohesiveness, with the 35-year-old also showing off his skills as a mixer and producer with a fragile reworking of Yeasayer’s 2010 alt-pop single, “I Remember”, as well as a curator of gauzy ambient soundscapes, both old and new.

Indeed, alongside established close contemporaries such as one-time collaborator David Holmes (“Hey Maggy”), German composer Nils Frahm (“More”) and labelmates A Winged Victory For The Sullen (“Requiem for the Static King 1”), Hopkins also shines the spotlight on several emerging names who may well be invited to compile their own Late Night Tales volume in the future, as demonstrated by the chopped-up electro-funk of Letherette’s “After Dawn,” the wistful folktronica of Songs of Green Pheasant’s “I Am Daylights” or the delicate piano instrumental of Ben Lukas Boysen’s “Sleepers Beat Theme.”

But whether it’s the wistful acoustic folk of Alela Diane’s “Lady Divine,” Gold Panda’s calming remix of Health’s noise-rock anthem “Before Tigers” or the ghostly Grace Jones-sampling house of Holy Other’s “Yr Love,” the entire track list flows as seamlessly as any one of Hopkins’ very own six studio efforts.

Fourteen years and 39 installments into the Late Night Tales series, Jon Hopkins’ carefully-constructed playlist might just be the greatest one yet.

4 / 5 stars     

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About the Author


Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

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Posted in: Album Reviews, Electronic Music, Featured


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