Luminous Festival: Jon Hopkins (with VJ Myogenic) – Sydney Opera Playhouse (06.06.09)

Although one of the more (seemingly) obscure artists on the Luminous bill, the electronic stylings of Jon Hopkins (not to be confused with conductor John Hopkins) have made their way into most houses across the world, thanks in major part to Brian Eno and Coldplay (with the instrumental beauty of “Light through the Veins” featured in “Life in Technicolor”). And finally, thanks to the former, Mr. Hopkins has made a well overdue visit to our shores, coinciding with the recent Australian release of his latest LP, Insides.

The set began on a stage shrouded in darkness, Hopkins building the atmosphere aided only by a dim lamp over his equipment. Ambience was the key word here; long, beautiful melodies bouncing off the walls of the darkened theatre. One thing was clear – Jon Hopkins knows how to make electronic music, and tonight we were indeed in store for a treat.

As VJ Myogenic, his accompanying visual producer, slid quietly onto stage as the second track came to an end, the darkness slowly lifted, and “Light through the Veins” slowly came to fruition. While indeed most of what we heard was pre-recorded, his added live effects and mixes made for a wholly unique experience, and “Light” came through beautifully – while the song’s beautiful music video was played in the background.

From there on out, the power of Hopkins’ music shifted between the dark mystery of his opening tracks, to the sheer power of others like “Wires” (one of the highlights of the evening). The only shame of the latter tracks was that when the built to full intensity, one wanted to jump up and down and dance the night away. Alas, as in the nature of the Sydney Opera House crowd, and the seats restraining us, this was not possible. Thankfully, the bizarre animations which created a backdrop from Hopkins’ music was more than enough of a distraction. Even hypnotic.

When the hour-long set drew to a close, the crowd remained hungry for more, and we were kindly graced with an encore, aptly setting us on our way to make the most of our Saturday evenings. For those who witnessed this performance, the raw beauty and the power of Hopkins’ music well no doubt leave a long standing mark in our minds. Hopefully, next time he’s down here, we’ll be able to get our boogie on too.

Yet another evening of powerful music for this unique festival.

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.