tue 30/11/2021

Album: Jon Hopkins - Music for Psychedelic Therapy | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Jon Hopkins - Music for Psychedelic Therapy

Album: Jon Hopkins - Music for Psychedelic Therapy

Music to get well with

Music as metaphysics from Jon Hopkins

Music and therapy have always been closely connected – it is indeed possible that music grew out of a quest for a kind of medicine for the body and soul. Jon Hopkins’s latest adventure explores the possibilities of not only quietening the mind, but opening the heart.

This is not the lulling  (and irritating) New Age Muzak that accompanies massage and relaxation sessions, but something that goes much deeper. Hopkins recommends that this long "suite" in which each section floats from one track to the next should be listened to in one go, preferably in darkness. I would add that the impact is enhanced when accompanied by substances that free the listener and enable a more focused yet loosened awareness.

There are echoes of ambient, as well as drones, the latter delicate and light-filled rather than heavy and dark. Unlike other of Jon Hopkins’s albums, there are absolutely no beats, just a flow that pulsates almost imperceptibly, in tune with the deepest movements of the body, rather than the urgency of the beating human heart. Even though the bpms are close to zero, this is hardly chill-out music. If there is narrative in the music, which features waves of sound that mysteriously keep coming, bathed in predominantly major chords, it’s the sense that Hopkins has created subtle and slowed-down anthems. This is music that very slowly builds towards feel-good climaxes, repeated movements towards a deeply satisfying feeling of resolution.

If there is a pulse in the music, it reaches – paradoxically – beyond time, and that is what makes it such a powerful tool for healing and illumination. The album as a whole can be experienced as an extremely decelerated journey towards love, embracing sounds from nature, pouring rain on “Tayos Caves, Ecuador 1”, various kinds of tropical birdsong, and at one point a tooting owl, reminiscent of the magical call of the Scop’s Owl that brings Hopkins's most recent album Singularity to an extraordinary end.  On “arriving”, a faint human presence makes a discrete and bewitching entrance – a woman’s voice humming what sounds like a quintessential Irish air. The comfort of soothing humanity.  

The final track, " Sit Around the Fire", features an inspiring spoken-word teaching from Ram Dass, calling as the whole album does for love and devotion. It works as well as an invitation to a repeat experience of the album, and a plunge into the timeless wisdom it epxresses so eloquently. Without being in any way didactic, this is music as metaphysics, seeking transformation of mind, body and spirit through sound that subtly shifts us from ego to transcendence, from singularity to the universal.

 

If there is a pulse in the music, it reaches - paradoxically - beyond time

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters