RECORD COL­LEC­TION: JON HOP­KINS

The elec­tron­ica au­teur and pro­ducer on the records that shaped him.

Q (UK) - - Contents -

Ozric Ten­ta­cles make a shock ap­pear­ance on the techno don’s plat­ters that mat­ter.

OZRIC TEN­TA­CLES ARBORESCENCE (1994 , DOVETAI L)

“I’d have been about 16 when I dis­cov­ered this via my brother dur­ing our stoner years. I’d never heard any­thing quite like it, be­cause I didn’t know any­thing about prog rock or bands like Hawk­wind. It’s easy to write off Ozrics be­cause of the very par­tic­u­lar nature of their sound, plus the gui­tar so­los and long hair and all that, but there’s ac­tu­ally in­cred­i­ble mu­si­cian­ship here, es­pe­cially in the synth el­e­ment. There’s a real mys­tery to their sound and this was the first time I’d ever heard any­thing elec­tronic be­ing quite so or­ganic.”

LEFT­FIELD LEFTISM (1995, HARD HANDS/COLUM BIA)

“This was a defin­ing record for me. When I was 16 I looked about 11 years old, so there was no way I could get into clubs, so we’d listen to Leftism a lot round at mates’ houses and par­ties. It’s just got these ridicu­lously fat sounds on it, and I love the way they fused ethnic sam­ples and elec­tron­ics in such an up­front, ag­gres­sive, dancey way. They put these in­cred­i­ble fat ana­logue fil­ters on ev­ery­thing, mak­ing it sound thicker and weight­ier than any­thing else around at that time. I think it still stands up now.”

THE ORB ORBLIVION (1997, I S LAN D)

“A real game-changer for me. It’s al­most like it took the crown from that Ozrics LP in terms of be­ing elec­tronic mu­sic that was gen­uinely both psy­che­delic and or­ganic. It’s just such an un­usual-sound­ing record, and there’s a par­tic­u­lar com­plex­ity and in­tri­cacy in the mu­sic. Take the first two tracks, Delta Mk II and Ubiq­uity, they just have this crazy, glassy, tac­tile qual­ity which is dif­fi­cult to pin down. This got me lean­ing towards more elec­tronic stuff and made me re­alise psychedelia was a genre I loved and wanted to ex­plore more.”

THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS DIG YOUR OWN HOLE (1997, FRE E STYLE DUST/ VI RGI N)

“I saw the Chem­i­cals at Brixton Academy when they toured this al­bum. I was about 17 and had never seen elec­tronic artists play live like this be­fore – it was more like a rock con­cert. They re­ally ex­tended all the build-ups and drops, which sounded so sat­is­fy­ing in that big room. This is my favourite of theirs be­cause it’s got quite an ex­per­i­men­tal feel – there’s no sparkle to it, it’s just re­ally black-and-white and gritty. The heav­ier mu­sic I play nowa­days is in­spired by this, while the more sparkly stuff I do comes from the psy­che­delic artists I like.”

HAROLD BUDD/BRIAN ENO WITH DANIEL LANOIS THE PEARL (1984 , EDI­TION SEG)

“I came across this when I was about 21, a cou­ple of years be­fore I was lucky enough to meet Brian and later work with him. I was shit­ting my­self [ when I first met him], but he was ac­tu­ally just like this nor­mal guy, sit­ting there read­ing the pa­per in the stu­dio, and was pretty funny too. He told me that this al­bum was made with 100 per cent treated acous­tic sound, thanks in part to co-pro­ducer Daniel Lanois. That re­ally blew my mind. So you’ve got Harold Budd play­ing im­pro­vised pi­ano, while all the re­verbs were pro­cessed live. It sounds like a med­i­ta­tion.”

KING CRE­OSOTE KENNY AND BETH’S MUSAKAL BOAT RIDES (2003, FENCE/DOMINO)

“I first heard this in my mid- 20s and it changed my life. On hear­ing it, I knew I had to meet Kenny [ An­der­son] and try and work with him, which for­tu­nately I did [ on 2011’ s Di­a­mond Mine]. It has such life and heart to it, with a real sense of place that re­flects where he’s from in Crail, Fife. He uses re­ally un­usual sam­ples and loops these ac­ci­den­tal rhyth­mic jux­ta­po­si­tions, which I find re­ally in­ter­est­ing. But, above all, it’s just bril­liant song­writ­ing, with the most beau­ti­ful melodies, and his voice is ob­vi­ously re­mark­able.”

SMOG A RIVER AIN’T TOO MUCH TO LOVE (2005, DOM I NO)

“This was the first thing I heard by Bill Cal­la­han and it re­mains my favourite. Again, it has a sense of place, which can be felt through the tone of his voice and his par­tic­u­lar choice of chords. This record has so much space in it you can tell he’s clearly en­am­oured by wide open vis­tas. The re­straint in the in­stru­men­ta­tion is in­cred­i­ble. Plus, his lyrics are hi­lar­i­ous: he tells these amaz­ing sto­ries in this self-dep­re­cat­ing, al­most con­ver­sa­tional style. This al­bum got me prop­erly lis­ten­ing to lyrics for the first time. It’s proper es­capist stuff.”

ELVE EMER­ALD (2010, VI RTUAL)

“Matt Hil­lier is a truly re­mark­able, pro­lific com­poser from Corn­wall who I’m quite evan­gel­i­cal about. He also goes un­der the moniker Ishq. This record sounds like it should sound­track a psy­che­delic cer­e­mony of some sort, pos­si­bly Ayahuasca, be­cause it kind of feels rain­for­est-re­lated. But it’s so much more than just bu­colic am­bi­ent. It’s very com­plex in struc­ture and has some sort of in-built propul­sion. I don’t know how he does it. It’s so in­ter­est­ing to talk through these records be­cause they’re all like pieces in the puz­zle as to why I sound like I do.”

“THE AL­BUMS THAT CHANGED MY LIFE”

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