BEST OF 2013: 11. Jon Hopkins – Immunity

Apparently crafted and sequenced to sound like the course of a night out, ‘Immunity’ finds artist and producer Jon Hopkins in fine form after his spellbinding dalliance with King Creosote which only a cloth-eared dolt would have omitted from their albums of the year list in 2011. Kenny puts in an appearance on the washed out, spaced out title track which represents the running on empty morning that follows the intense and relentless night before. The opening pair of ‘We Disappear’ and ‘Open Eye Signal’ are a substantial onslaught, cranking the tempo and volume rapidly and resolutely from the off. A sort of glacial techno is where the adventure begins, and it’s hard to imagine Four Tet fans not being enchanted by this aspect of Hopkins’ craft.

And it is his craft which I think makes this record so absorbing. It was a delight to see it nominated for the Mercury Prize and similarly pleasing to witness its success in many end of year lists. It feels like one of the good guys has broken through by just doing his own thing. That said, ‘Immunity’ is a lot punchier than 2009’s ‘Insides’, which seems more logically associated with ‘Diamond Mine’. The sense that ‘Collider’ is hitting just off the beat is simultaneously disorienting and hypnotic, perfect preparation for the eerily spacious plains of ‘Abandon Window’ which follows. ‘Form By Firelight’ is like a squelchy, electronic waltz which suits the witching hour rather well.

The albums concludes with the near-twelve minute ‘Sun Harmonics’ and the afore-mentioned KC track. The former is a curiously gentle piece, offering aural balm to soundtrack dazed slumps in tatty sofas. The latter, meanwhile, is a logical extension of a prior working relationship. Some of the background noises are rather familiar and, while there’s no risk of ‘Bats In The Attic’ breaking out, it feels a little like a dub remix of their finer points. It is the sound of mental release – a perfect antidote to a day without end. ‘Immunity’ is a real pain to write about because so much of my response to it has been entirely emotional. I haven’t really talked about it with anyone and haven’t scrutinised a lyric sheet. I’ve not thought about how it does what it does, just reached for it at various points like a medicine or a pillow. It’s a fabulous piece of work and I’ll leave it to prompt similar responses in you.

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