Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Jon Hopkins – Village Underground, London 12/06/13

21 June 2013, 10:55 | Written by Lauren Down

Through my puny laptop speakers, Jon Hopkin’s Immunity is a slow burning, comedown of a record: Its bubbling synths and intricately arranged elements building in the slowest of increments – beautiful, incredible even – but it’s a total tease, never quite reaching the heights you’re hoping for, or the hedonism perhaps (and no, I’ve not been waiting for the drop this whole time thankyouverymuch). I was hoping that live, it would be a completely different story. I was not wrong.

Twelve months ago Hopkins would not have sold out the Village Underground. Not that he lacked the talent, catalogue or fans to do so, but it certainly feels like tonight’s eclectic crowd contains a lot of new indie leaning converts. I say this because for the first half an hour, there is only the smallest pocket of arms-raised-in-euphoria revellers, but as we move from the crackling synths and subtle, shifting keys of set opener ‘Breathe This Air’ into the heavier starker beats of album opener ‘We Disappear’ and beyond, a strange thing starts to happen: A Wednesday night London crowd start to dance. Hopkins doesn’t have to awkwardly ask people to move forward, or even open his lips, his music commands it.

By the time we reach ‘Open Eye Signal’ those aforementioned pockets are reversed, only the most pint-laden remaining in the head-nodding category. Murky pulsating beats build over wispy snare snaps as its raw techno bones are laid bare for all to see. It’s completely enveloping, its over 8 minute long live re-enactment never lets up. The rhythm and dense layers build to break point so perfectly, it reaches a level of immersive the record could never quite touch. Fluctuating, album artwork inspired visuals in the background translate the soundscape into mutating multi-coloured forms and then the second heady, album heavy weight of the night, ‘Collider’, comes in and all bets are off.

The setlist tonight is impeccable. I almost wish the album was ordered this way, but then of course, that wouldn’t allow for the older numbers that dominate the end of the show. Delving into 2009′s Insides, the London producer flexes his lighter touch and offers a brief respite in the softer sonics of ‘Light Through The Vein’. It’s total bliss. A wildcard in the form of his Wild Beasts remix – a live version, baring less resemblance to the recorded than you would expect – sees out the main portion of this evening.

Encore numbers come in the form of ‘Vessel’ and ‘Wire’. The first’s tinkering opening lines result in a deafening welcome-back-to-the-stage roar before its swirling, stuttering mass descends into the snarling, urgency of ‘Wire’, whose floating synths and marching drum and bass line drives the night relentlessly towards its collapsed destination.

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