Saturday, 31 January 2015

Late Night Tales - Jon Hopkins, compilation review

I slip into a candle-lit bath.

This feels like a perfect fit.

Other Late Night Tales releases often have a vibe of an afterparty, a melding of minds as records play in the wee small hours, but Jon Hopkins turn in the series feels different... more personal, more insular.

His offering is a mix for the individual.  To call it constructed is to do it a great disservice, it feels more natural than that, gently pouring from one musical movement to another, the ebbs and flows often gradual, virtually no announcement is made as one track takes the reigns from the other.

The tranquil state is thrown on occasions, vaguely psychedelic turns or disturbances that jar against the relaxed ambience, haunting and cutting a swathe through the safety of a run-of-the-mill chill-out session, because this is no run-of-the-mill chill-out session.

Jon Hopkins' acclaimed musical states are writ large across the 75 minutes, it is grandiose, yet personal, meditative, yet reaching, and I find myself still listening even once the bath water has gotten cold.

Released 2nd March on Late Night Tales

Friday, 23 January 2015

Tonik Ensemble - Snapshots, album review

previously published on

Sigur Ros sure have a lot to answer for, having seemingly single-handedly set the precedent for what is expected of music hailing from their near-mythical and majestic home of Iceland.

Tonik Ensemble feels no need to let up on the inherent atmospherics that have become culturally defining, but there is an added edge,  a deeply felt darkness that pours across the 8 tracks, and a beat driven underbelly topped off with carefully selected vocal collaborators lift this above the ethereal stereotypes.

It is certain that Snapshots is delivered on a chilled wind of glacial cool, yet as it whistles through your bones it also reflects touches of Faithless's most introspective moments with the crowd-bouncing synth refrains wisely sidestepped for more individualistic tendencies.  Echoing of inward bound paranoia and whirls of emotion, Tonik Ensemble has crafted a delicate beast that dances its fragile dance in the overlooked darkness of uncrowded dancefloors.

Released February 10th on Atomnation