Jon Hopkins - Photo by Tonje Thilesen

On Seeing Jon Hopkins and How His Set Changed My Life

As a fellow music-obsessed junkie and live show enthusiast, I feel comfortable making the generalization that those of our kind feel music on a deep, soul consuming level. It exists within me, shapes the way I feel and experience life, and I’ve told significant others (much to their initial dismay and later chagrin) that no person and no physical thing will ever occupy the labyrinth in my heart that music does.

Sure, it’s a grandiose and hyperbolic statement, but that sentiment has resonated and stayed true for my entire life.

Those who feel as hard as I do about music are perpetually seeking out that one song, album, artist, and live gig that will strike us to our very core. My artist is Nujabes. One of my albums is My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. And now, I’m honored to say that seeing Jon Hopkins perform live is my gig.

I’d been building up seeing him perform over the last year so much that a part of me convinced myself that I would be disappointed. Immunity was one of the LPs from 2013 that changed the electronic music game forever (2013 is actually considered THE year of electronic music by many critics) which isn’t to be taken lightly. Any electronic artist that put their album out in 2013 will go down as legends, and I got to see so many of my favorites at this year’s Pitchfork.

If any of you know that intense, visceral experience of seeing the greatest set of your life then I know you’ll get what I’m saying in this article.

For those of you who haven’t experienced it yet, or think you have but really haven’t, imagine it like this – you’re ripped from your physical self and you transcend space. You’re torn apart and put back together in an endless cycle. All at once you encompass your future, present, and past selves and yet you’re absolutely nothing at the same time.

I was embraced by his music and simultaneously suffocated by it without want for breath. I was surrounded by people as equally transfixed by the music except I was alone in that field, dancing with myself, and Hopkins and I were the only two people in existence.

He was gravity. It was beyond the moon orbiting the sun – he was the super massive black hole in the middle of the galaxy pulling us in closer.

It was dramatic, life-changing, and ultimately heartbreaking. I’ve been to many brilliant shows in my life, and I know I’ll attend hundreds more before the end, but this is the gig that will always resonate with me. The only other artist who could get me to that level is Nujabes, but I’ll never be able to see him perform.

I’m still choked up thinking about it a week later. I mean, I fucking cried during his set (no, I didn’t take any type of drug, I know you’re thinking it) which was embarrassing since I stood next to a Pitchfork writer / editor / bigwig and he kept side-long glancing over at me like I’d lost my goddamn mind. Whatever.

Immunity has officially made itself into my top five favorite albums of all time, and I’ve kept my fifth slot open for years. His live set changed my life in ways I’m not even sure of yet but I can’t wait to find out.

Read our coverage of Pitchfork Music Festival 2014 for Day One and Day Two.


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