Jon Hopkins ft. Raphaelle Standell: ‘Form By Firelight’ Single Review

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Last year, English musician and producer Jon Hopkins gave us one of the finest electronic records in recent years. Immunity was a beautifully-constructed masterpiece that had some wonderful ambient moments, but also some gritty tracks, such as the 9-minute-long “Collider.” Hopkins received widespread critical acclaim for his work, including a Mercury Prize Award nomination, and rightly so. Its 60-minute run time created an experience that took you to the dark dingy corners of a nightclub to the vast openness of the Nevada desert, finishing on top of a skyscraper looking over the city whilst the night slowly passes by, for the album closer, “Immunity”. It’s a truly remarkable album and I couldn’t recommend it enough.

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about, I’m here to talk about a new track from his upcoming EP, Asleep Versions. Asleep Versions is a 4-track EP that Hopkins recorded earlier this year in Reykjavik. Planned to be heard as one single 25-minute piece, the EP is a reimagining of four tracks off Immunity. The first snippet of the EP is a reimagining of the track “Form By Firelight,” with additional help from Braids and Blue Hawaii member Raphaelle Standell.

The original “Form By Firelight” was a track that was full of glitchy beats that served as a sort of intro to the magnificent “Sun Harmonics.”This new version, however, is an ambient sleepwalk through a mystical forest. Instead of harsh electronic beats, we are accompanied by delicate piano and angelic harmonies from Raphaelle Standell. This is the perfect reimagining and in all honesty, it’s better than the original. It no longer feels like an intro anymore and is more of a song in its own right. The atmosphere that is created has an ethereal quality to it that’s hard to describe, and it’s best if you just listen and experience it for yourself.

So should it have been featured on the final version of Immunity? The simple answer is no. Despite being beautifully crafted, it doesn’t fit in with the overall tone of Immunity.  

From early indications, it looks like we could have a rather exquisite-sounding EP on the way. Also if you fancy hearing even more from what’s to come from Asleep Versions, then check out its trailer on YouTube. You won’t be disappointed. Asleep Versions is released on the 10th of November by Domino Records.