Jon Hopkins - Seven Gulps Of Air EP (Domino Records)

Phillip Clark | Sunday, 08 November 2009

Jon Hopkins - Seven Gulps Of Air EP (Domino Records)

It was almost inevitable when Jon Hopkins released his album Insides that the remixers would be circling like a pack of vultures. A commission from designer Christopher Kelly for his film at London Fashion Week gave the remix artists the opportunity they'd been waiting for.

Title-track 'Seven Gulps Of Air' by remixer Tunng uses live handclapping and incantations from the Malinese singer Abdallah Ag Housseyni and ends up sounding like a bit of a mess. Although 'Seven Gulps Of Air' is described as sounding like someone stamping their way down to the centre of the earth, in reality it feels like someone is stamping on your head for three and a half minutes.

Fortunately, second track 'Small Memory' (again remixed by Tunng) starts with a bit more promise, keeping with the original deep piano lines and adding some loping grooves to a background of chemistry sounds including bottles being uncorked create an interesting, medicinal atmosphere.

'The Low Places', remixed by violin and hand percussion fans Geese, begins with what sounds like a dead bagpipe which has came back to haunt, however once it is exorcised a chirpy but still ultimately eerie sound of guitar plucking emerges before the violins creepily sway into song. 'The Low Places' is the most intense on the EP as even the tiniest scrape of the violin can be heard is crisp detail.

'A Drifting Down' reworks 'A Drifting Up' by magnifying its details. Beginning with high pitched humming before being gradually joined by Emma Smith's violin and transforming into an electro-acoustic sound. The originally dreamy 'A Drifting Up' has been taken even further into the depths of subconscious to help create an escapist's heaven.

Final track 'Light In the Veins' has been remodelled by Tom Middleton. It appears to have no noticeable change at the start but his input becomes more apparent as he brings the track to euphoric new highs and stretches it out to nine minutes. This track is something that could be worked into a decent spaced-out, end of night, club track and is the strongest on the EP.

If you take the title track out of the equation then this is a more-than decent remix EP, using the vision and ideas of Jon Hopkins and taking them to new levels but retaining still retaining its original simplicity. It's an experimental electronic piece of art, but well worth the purchase price for fans.

Rating: 3.5/5

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