Jon Hopkins – Immunity


The brainwave generator is a computer program that uses what are termed “binaural” beats to induce altered states in consciousness in humans, said to mimic the effects of drugs or divine experience. UK producer (and frequent Brian Eno collaborator) Jon Hopkin’s fourth solo album, Immunity, was created with a similar goal in mind. Resulting from experiments with self-hypnosis and a desire to slow brainwave function, this is a techno album that is at once both maximal and minimal. There is a tremendous amount of layering in every track with some novel samples used, like disembodied vowel sounds, the thump of a piano’s sustain pedal and my favourite: sounds of fireworks from the 2012 London Olympics. As a result, pounding four-to-the-floor rhythms oscillate and lope as new creaks and samples emerge from the London-fog-thick-mix. But this maximal mixdown is contrasted with minimal synth work, which recalls the minimal techno of Robert Hood and darkly subdued electro (think Fedde LeGrand basslines broadcasting from the center of a k-hole.) In terms of sound design, this album’s a work to behold. As an emotional experience it leaves something to be desired. Aside from a few choice glitches in the early part of the album, where the bass lines sound like they are tearing themselves apart there are few of the visceral or jarring thrills that I believe are central to a truly special electronic album. While there is little catchiness to be found, this subdued unemotive nature is key to its hypnotism. And hypnotic it is: listen to this in the dark with some good headphones; time will blur and your subconscious will take you to inner places. Give this a spin if you’re a fan of minimal techno, electro, self-hypnosis, psychonautics and sound design. (Domino, Alexandre Ilkkala-Boyer

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