Jon Hopkins makes gentle music with hidden depths

180430_r31963Kalefa Sanneh at The New Yorker:

Hopkins is now thirty-eight, and one of the most celebrated electronic musicians of his generation. He has a paradoxical ability to make obsessively engineered tracks that sound friendly and generous; his sensibility is openhearted and sometimes sentimental—an approach that can make him seem like an outlier in the world of electronic music. Hopkins is known for his collaborations and soundtracks and, above all, his own albums, which appear every five years or so and then reappear on innumerable best-of lists. Next month, he will release “Singularity,” ending a quiet but dramatic period in his life, during which he recovered from the rigors of touring by subjecting his body to other kinds of stress: desert treks, controlled breathing, freezing baths. Apparently, these exertions had an effect, because the new album is both the gentlest and the most epic of Hopkins’s career.

“Singularity” is an hour-long ode to spiritual transcendence that also resembles pleasant background noise—at least, it does at first. The album includes a handful of wispy, beatless tracks that might be considered ambient music, a genre that Eno invented. In the liner notes to “Ambient 1: Music for Airports,” from 1978, Eno wrote that ambient music “must be as ignorable as it is interesting.” Hopkins has been pleased to learn that his albums have generally failed to meet this exacting standard. “Someone will say, I went to do some cooking and put it on, and ended up sitting down and listening to the whole thing,” he says. “Obviously, that’s what you want—you’ve captured them.”

more here.