Jon Hopkins Asleep Versions
Published Nov 07, 2014Last year's Mercury-nominated Immunity was easily one of the best releases of 2013 and marked another huge leap in Jon Hopkins' already illustrious career. When it was announced he'd be releasing Asleep Versions, it could easily have been construed as yet another artist trying to capitalize on the success of a release by repackaging it with a bit of added material; usually these re-releases include longer cuts of existing tracks, expanding on what's already been done. Hopkins instead decides to take four of Immunity's tracks and scale them back, cutting them down to shorter reimagined versions, with the exception of "Open Eye Signal," which has now been expanded to a sprawling 11 minutes.
Whereas King Creosote's vocals on "Immunity" were warped almost beyond recognition, they take centre stage on this new version, a shorter and beautiful reinterpretation that's stripped bare of its constant build up. The addition of Braids and Blue Hawaii vocalist Raphaelle Standell-Preston is much welcomed on "Form By Firelight," which is transformed into an almost whimsical ballad, keeping only the piano keys and some of the pulsing beats from the dark and twisted original. Immunity highlight "Breathe This Air," which had already been re-released to feature more prominent vocals by Purity Ring's Megan James, is cut down to three minutes to only feature the short instrumental interlude found on the original, transforming the looping drum pattern into sounds of train tracks.
"Open Eye Signal" engulfs the listener into a soaring land to which Hopkins has invited you, one filled with mutating trees and deep caverns, slowly ebbing away to then plunge you into gargling rivers, as if to say "this is my world and you're in it now." This is a fitting end to a beautiful package, as "Open Eye Signal" acted as Immunity's de facto thesis, an assertive statement that encapsulated almost all of the album's idiosyncrasies. Asleep Versions proves Hopkins' chameleon-like ability to shift gears at will without it ever feeling disingenuous, and invites you to rediscover him as an artist and revisit his past projects and material. (Domino)