Jon Hopkins’ Immunity is undoubtedly one of my favourite albums of this decade so far. A haunting series of visions - a cinematic journey that transitions from something seemingly engineered to something altogether more human. It feels like since releasing that album Hopkins has been taking stock and evaluating what to do next: we have had re-imaginings of the material from Immunity and collaborations that saw guest vocals added to a handful of songs, the soundtrack to How I Live Now, but little that suggests what we should expect next from the artist Jon Hopkins, rather than the producer Jon Hopkins.
Perhaps this latest mix for Late Night Tales may point the way… Opening with the hauntingly familiar but previously unreleased Sleepers Beat Theme from composer Ben Lukas Boysen this is a mix more concerned with mood and cinematics than technique or obvious emotion… Fingers delicately weave across keys, hearts stir, time slows for a moment. And what follows is a series of interrelated moments and snapshots that alternate between the two styles Hopkins primarily operates within - dense leftfield electronic and melodic piano-based classical.
There are more great moments on this album than I have the time, space or desire to call out, but it is safe to say Hopkins has a firm handle on some of the best work of his contemporaries. Here on Late Night Tales he manages to combine them into a sense of narrative. Nils Frahm's More feels stark, ice-like and exposed, whilst Leatherette's After Dawn is a looping, emotive electronic wonder. There are contrasts at play, yet it all works, and manages to feel both sophisticated but utterly irresistible at the same time.
Hopkins also manages to introduce some recognisable pieces - Jónsi & Alex's Daniell In The Sea and School Of Seven Bells' Conjur. Along with Alela Diane's lady Divine these songs are woven into the wider album, create temporary centre pieces. Diane's track in particularly creates a earthy femininity that feels like a gentle touchdown after David Holmes' stellar and contemplative Hey Maggy.
And the influence of the curator of this album extends beyond the track selection and sequencing... As is customary with Late Night Tales albums Hopkins provides a new track in the form of a hauntingly minimal piano version of Yeasayer's I Remember. He also adds his own elements - paino and synths - to transition some of these songs. The overall thought that has gone into the selection and sequencing of this album is clear.
Late Night Tales mixes can sometimes feel disperate - a friend thumbing through their favourite records. Hopkins shoots for something more than that here, and the result is one of the strongest compilations and entries into the series in memory.