'EP1' is the first in a series of DOWNLOAD ONLY EPs and it is available to download from THE JUST MUSIC DOWNLOAD SHOP as well as the leading digital download sites (including KARMA DOWNLOAD and iTunes).
Simply entitled 'EP1', this is cinematic, atmospheric electronica at its finest.
The three songs featured on 'EP1', 'Fairytale', 'Song One' and 'The End', were written just after the completion of Jon’s 2001 debut, OPALESCENT and have a much darker, more subtle and more experimental sound. Largely beats-free, the EP takes in influences ranging from the Icelandic landscape sounds of Sigur Ros and Múm, to Brian Eno's early ambient works and film scores by Angelo Badalamenti, Carter Burwell and Thomas Newman.
'ep1' sees Jon experimenting with very low, almost inaudible frequencies to induce trance-like sensations, inspired by his interest in the physiological effects of sound vibrations on the brain. As well as containing a piano recording Jon thought he had lost years ago, the final track on the EP, 'the end', features the sound of him climbing the two flights of stairs between the computer and the piano, which after being slowed down, emerged in the track as subliminal percussion. The ending fades so slowly and into such low frequencies that it is difficult to tell when it actually finishes.
With music for pilots and helicopters in the archives, Jon Hopkins covers the music for astronauts, perhaps touching on the music of the spheres. 'Fairytale' makes space between the frontal lobes with a beats-free track, bridging the left-right brain hemispheres with ice-cool surrender. A highly visual and cinematic track that could have sat on the 'Bladerunner' OST, it's like an Andy Goldsworthy ice-sculpture - frozen in time for a moment, destined to melt, to change shape and form. 'Song One' hinges on down-tempo beats, tones and piano with music-box, a wistful and melancholy opening that gains stride and lift. 'The End' utilises low frequency tones with reflective-piano, like eddies in a pool - the piano notes shimmering on the surface with delicate sound-swathes, calming and consoling.
Jon Hopkins reputation is increasing with every release. Already labelled in some circles as ?the grandchild of ambient? at the realtively youthful age of 26, Hopkins earned amazing reviews with his downtempo albums Opalescent and Contact Note. He has also been entrusted to mix The Art Of Chill 2 compilation ? displaying his obvious fascination with the genre.
This download-only EP, featuring three tracks, is a real beauty. Darker, and more ambient than even his previous works, all three tracks are worthy of intent listening. Fairytale opens with bladerunner style atmospheric synth droplets, hauntingly intriguing throughout. Song One is equally ambiguous, but beautifuly melodic, with its chiming tones and off-kilter key changes - both tracks are comparable to a number of gems found on Ulrich Schnauss? first album.
The End completes the trio, introducing Harold Budd-style echoey piano tones against thick, drifting synth backing ? this is particularly murky; the track closing like a soundtrack to the computer game ?Doom?. EP1 certainly leaves you wanting more, and I have no hesitation in saying that Hopkins has learned from the masters and is starting to put ambient back on the map in a way that would make Eno proud.
ep1 was recorded shortly after Opalescent, but has only just been released as on online download (available through his record label Just Music and the likes of iTunes, Napster, etc.). Very much the same style of music, the mood is much more melancholy and cinematic. Eerie synths and sweeping strings usher in "Fairytale" before a haunting piano line completes the picture. The beats are back on "Song One", the most upbeat track on the EP. "The End" rumbles and clatters, apparently the slowed down sound of Jon walking up his stairs, before a beautiful simple piano tune emergerges proceeded by a low frequency that carries on almost inaudibly, bringing the EP to a quiet close.
Another quiet triumph for ambient music.