Singularity

After years of serving as a studio magician for other artists, Jon Hopkins’ 2013 breakthrough release, Immunity, found him a global audience of his own. After a massive tour, he retreated to the desert to relax — and there, he found spirituality. The title of this follow-up and the names of many of its songs suggest an epiphany related to technology, a rebirth of sorts. The album begins with a barely tolerable burst of noise and sparks, like the Big Bang bringing forth something new. It proceeds to often sound like electricity — as if it were connected directly to the grid. A cackle permeates the album as a throughline, settling into a hum for ambient respites before springing back to life when the drums kick in. Indeed, the crackling sounds are so prevalent that much of the drama comes from their brief absences, with the rhythms growing more robust from the newfound quiet in between the beats. Songs such as “Everything Connected” seem to leave the ground entirely, reaching weightlessly for the stars. And then the album shifts. On “Feel First Life,” Hopkins tinkers with a piano and a celestial-sounding choir, cooling things off considerably. “Echo Dissolve” further distances the space between the notes, giving way to piano-led compositions so intimate and peaceful that you can hear the soft creak of the keys and pedals, until the album seems ready to dissolve entirely, and singularity is achieved.