It’s been a while since there’s been excitement over an album release on the scale that accompanied the arrival of Jon Hopkins’ Singularity.
To understand why, it is important to state the significance of electronica, dance and ambient music in my life. If you want to know where that journey began, start with a 1980 album plus a 1982 Disney movie.
After that I went back to Jean Michel Jarre and discovered film soundtracks, diving heavily into both until college. Disco was already a part of my existence too (Donna Summer particularly) until Acid House threw everything on its arse and suddenly sampling was huge. Of particular interest were Double Dee and Steinski, but it was all dabbling. Nothing was really serious until the arrival of the closest thing I’d found to a local band who resonated within me on multiple levels.
Second Toughest in the Infants redefined my entire relationship with electronica, introduced me to dance music and radically altered my outlook on just about everything. This was the moment when Indy supplanted Mainstream and the furrow ploughed became distinctly less straight. Frankly, it was the best thing that ever happened to me, and although there is still an affection with the AOR and Metal of the earliest days of musical affiliation, Jazz and Soul took over. I went back to big bands, re-educated myself in Classical music and blew the bloody doors off my own self-imposed narrow-mindedness.
This is a wonderful time to be alive, with streaming and YouTube and all points in between. However, only in the last year has Mindfulness begun to transform the way things are listened to. Singularity was produced by Hopkins who admits to using meditation as means to approach his work. Listening to this album, there is a distinct sense of cohesion that has not previously existed in any of the work I’ve heard, though it is not as accessible or indeed as ‘commercial’ as his previous release. Such labels, however, don’t bother me: how something makes me feel is far more important than it’s musical smarts.
This album will be in the ears for several weeks, as it is proving especially useful as a spur for productivity. In that regard alone, the endeavour can be considered an unrivalled triumph.