Following the recent release of his cover of Dawn Chorus (a track we all know as Thom Yorke’s), Jon Hopkins has dropped his new EP on Domino, Piano Versions, which came out on digital release on 16th April 2021, with a separate physical release date of 2nd July 2021. An EP from which Dawn Chorus came, Piano Versions is precisely that, piano covers of already released tracks.
Jonathan Julian Hopkins is a London-based musician and producer who writes and performs electronic music, began his career playing keyboard for Imogen Heap, and renowned for his production on albums by Brian Eno, Coldplay, David Holmes and many others. His following is not only for his contributions. Immunity, his 2014 LP release, harnessed more following for Hopkins and Singularity, the follow-up to this LP, strengthened his fanbase, but also added further conviction for those that were already aficionados.
Presented as the sister record to 2014’s Asleep Versions, Piano Versions is a collection of ambient piano cover versions, offering an alternative take on these tracks, which he clearly holds dearly. A love letter to tracks originally by Roger & Brian Eno (Wintergreen), Thom Yorke, Luke Abbott (Modern Driveway) and James Yorkston (Heron) are presented in a completely new context to their initial form. On these versions, Hopkins used his upright piano as the centrepiece of the EP, whilst recording the ambient, environmental elements around it.
An unsurprising selection of tracks, unsurprisingly stunningly covered. Stripping these songs down to ambient piano, Hopkins’ playful release reminding of his eclectic music taste and the effect that piano can have on music whatever the genre of original track. Dawn Chorus is quite clearly that but Heron is vastly different, so much so that it most certainly transforms into an entirely different instrumental song. Glitches and field recordings add an implicit depth to a track already stunning, altering it to more of an evocative soundscape, one that resonates with the outdoor life and abundance in time for nature that we have become more recently accustomed to. Wintergreen is stunning on the piano and Modern Driveway is so far removed from their original that it too becomes undistinguishable. The whirring sounds that cloud the minimalist piano are reminiscent of the noise of murmurations, an organic continuation from Heron. Evocative, raw, and with enough recordings to provide aural scapes to the central piano, Piano Versions is unsurprising yet surprising at the same time. Certainly with every listen you gain something new, and Hopkins makes it a joy to sit through these recordings noting the glitches and sounds, with the piano at the core.
Piano Versions is out now, via Domino Records