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Album Review

Jon Hopkins got a pretty big résumé boost in 2008 through his production work (alongside Brian Eno and others) on Coldplay's Viva la Vida. Prior to this he had worked with Massive Attack and released two albums on small labels. His debut for Domino, 2009's Insides, is his first record that many people will hear and it's a promising, but flawed, debut. It shows that Hopkins has a firm grasp on many styles of electronic music but doesn't prove to be a master of any. He dips into ominously distorted gangsta glitch on the title track, lush big beat on "Wire," burbling orchestral dubstep on "Vessel," and icy cold IDM on "Colour Eye," and while each excursion sounds good, there is nothing much happening that a fan of electronic music in its many forms hasn't heard done better before. If there is an overriding aesthetic to Insides, it's the kind of ambient techno that labels like Instinct and artists like Pete Namlook and Irresistible Force were making in the early '90s. He creates acoustic instruments with synthesizers and programmed beats to create very pleasant, very well-crafted pieces that don't really challenge the listener but instead create a kind of warm, fuzzy blanket of sound for them to settle into. The problem many artists face who attempt this is that the end result comes awfully close to sounding like generic new agey music that drifts in one ear and out the other. While there are some tracks, like the overly subdued "The Low Places" and the beat-free songs that bookend the album ("The Wider Sun" and "Autumn Hill") that fall prey to this, mostly Hopkins' ear for a good melody and his willingness to occasionally dirty up the beats keep the album off of life support. The best song here, the sunny and bright, epic-length electro-ballad "Light Through the Veins," even points to a possible future where Hopkins develops a voice of his own and makes a record that breaks free of the genre exercises and half-formed ideas that may keep Insides from being a success.

Customer Reviews

that review doesn't give him justice

I think each song is so well done in their own unique way. It isn't ''flawed'' like reviewed above just b/c he ''doesn't master one style.'' What awesome is he's got so many!! Very relaxing and enjoyable.

Pretty good.

Good music for a good price, I realize that it's not everyone's first choice, and it certainly isn't mine, but it is interesting and is a good demonstration of the latest in computer "electronic music". Jon Hopkins is one of the best at this genre.

Amazing Album

Jon Hopkins knows how to create gorgeous music that flows in and out like water. Some of his songs are beautifully peaceful, while others are in your face with electronic pulses and ryhthms. I highly recommend The Wider Sun, Light Through the Veins, and Autumn Hill. An amazing album.


Born: August 15, 1979 in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, Eng

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Jon Hopkins is an electronic producer who meticulously constructs lush arrangements, blending digital beats and soothing ambience. His unique, hypnotic style made him a sought-after producer in the pop world, and earned him credits on albums by Coldplay, Massive Attack, Brian Eno, and Herbie Hancock in the late 2000s. Starting out as a gifted child pianist, in his teen years he became interested in synthesized sounds and started making acid house and drum'n'bass on a four-track recorder using computer...
Full Bio
Insides, Jon Hopkins
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Customer Ratings