Jon Hopkins

Music for Psychedelic Therapy

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Music for Psychedelic Therapy Review

by Paul Simpson

Jon Hopkins supplemented Immunity and Singularity, his two massively ambitious and acclaimed experimental techno albums released during the 2010s, with EPs containing ambient versions and pieces designed for relaxation. His 2021 album Music for Psychedelic Therapy is a full immersion into beatless compositions, moving far away from the grand, intricately crafted progressive dance epics of his two most well-known albums. The release is a three-dimensional sound bath meant to be played continuously while the listener is lying down in the dark, and it incorporates natural sounds within its layers of shifting textures, chimes, and subtle bass modulations. It isn't as jarring or heart-racing as Hopkins' more rhythmic works, but it does feel like it's channeling spiritual energy in a similar, chemically enhanced way. The album might appear new age on the surface, but it's more than just a set of blissful, mind-cleansing meditations. Three pieces named after the Tayos Caves in Ecuador are filled with rainfall, rolling wind, and the distant calls of bats or birds, combining calm reflection with a trembling sense of loneliness. "Deep in the Glowing Heart" is the album's stunning centerpiece, building up fluttering waves of sound into a vast, engrossing sea of emotion. From this intense peak, the music seems to come down and drift freely, letting distant nature sounds intersperse with the loose ends of stray thoughts, never focusing too hard on one feeling or idea. The album concludes with "Sit Around the Fire," a guided meditation based on the words of spiritual teacher Ram Dass, who advises the listener to "quiet the mind and open the heart." Music for Psychedelic Therapy isn't as overwhelming as Hopkins' previous two albums, but it's still an enlightening trip inspired by a lifetime of profound experiences.

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