Caught up with this stunning album from last year. Hopkins is an electronic artist from England and this album is a moody, often gorgeous, often dark, occasionally bleak masterpiece. Hopkins does employ vocals in his work, and does so to great effect, but they’re always wordless, so the album should definitely be classified as instrumental. He also uses a lot of ambient sound, ie. footsteps, keys jingling, the hiss of white noise. And he’s miked his piano really well or done something to it digitally, I’m not sure which, because it has this wonderful acoustic sound; it’s the sound of a piano heard from across an empty room, I guess, which I really loved. Anyway, the album is slow; this is electronic music, with all the obvious markers of that genre, but it isn’t club music or anything. The beats are sparse and dry; the synthesizers, piano and vocals are beautiful and haunted; the bass is a dark rumble. It’s also an album, not just a collection of electronic pieces. In an era where everyone downloads songs as individual pieces of art, this is an album that really needs to be heard as a cohesive whole, preferably, and I know this is really, really music nerd of me but it’s true, in a single sitting. It’s an hour long and all the tracks bleed into each other and themes recur from track to track. There’s a gorgeous piano theme that recurs on four tracks (I think), for instance, and it’s probably my favorite bit of music on the album. But anyway, this is my first Hopkins album; it’s really, really wonderful though and I’m definitely going to track down some of his other stuff. Great album. Highly recommended. 4 stars.
tl;dr – beautiful but brooding electronic masterpiece; the album plays as a cohesive suite of music, not just a random bunch of tracks. Dark, grim, ultimately transcendent. 4 stars.