Jon Hopkins’ last album, Singularity, came out back in 2018. At that point, it had been five years since Hopkins’ preceding release, and Singularity was met with the kind of excitement that usually surrounds Hopkins. (We ranked it as one of the best albums of that year.) Since then, we’ve heard from Hopkins intermittently — there was the announcement of his upcoming Polarity theater tour, and he teamed up with Kelly Lee Owens for “Luminous Spaces” — and today he’s back with a new song.
The track is called “Scene Suspended,” and it’s a lot more sparse than the material on Singularity. That was by design. Here’s what Hopkins had to say about it:
The main tracks on Singularity were built of hundreds of layers and processes, and took nearly two years to build. Following on from this I’ve been craving a return to simplicity, to acoustic sound and to the instrument I grew up playing. In order to express similar themes but to use as little as possible to achieve this the only sound sources on “Scene Suspended” are piano and violin.
“Scene Suspended” began as an improvisation during Hopkins’ show at the Sydney Opera House last month. It apparently came out of “a time of personal upheaval.” It is indeed a different voice than the one on Singularity, sad and searching piano notes with that violin accompaniment — played by Emma Smith — sounding like some early morning hours revelation after the usually nocturnal sounds (and settings) of Hopkins’ music otherwise. It’s a stripped back but moving composition, and you can check it out below.