I wasn’t expecting to post this particular track from English artist Jon Hopkins this afternoon, seeing that I actually featured it a few years back. It’s a sprawling atmospheric electronic groove titled “Luminous Beings,” and I first encountered it when I caught Hopkins’ live at the Fonda Theatre on 09.18.18. Here’s my old post for that.
Back then, I think I intended to feature some of his live performance from that show. But as I re-examine the video through today’s eyes and ears, I have to admit it’s kind of crap. Maybe I’ll include it at a future date, if I’m bored and out of ideas. For now, nope.
Anyway, with all this Covid-19-induced downtime – the shutdown, not the virus itself – I’ve been taking the abundance of free time to clean-up and polish this blog. Turns out, there’s quite a few broken links, weird resize problems, video playback issues, typos, lack of relevant imagery and photography, etc. So I’m systematically combing through the last few years of posts and fixing all the issues, as well as figuring out ways to improve things. I mean, I’ve got the time.
That said, I was cleaning up the old Hopkins post today, and ran across this alternate version of “Luminous Beings,” this time featuring the addition of Welsh electronic artist and vocalist Kelly Lee Owens.
This particular version, which I didn’t catch upon it’s initial release last year, made me do more than a few double takes. It sounds strikingly new, yet at the same time, totally familiar. It’s like I recognized it immediately, but wasn’t quite sure I remembered it correctly. There’s enough subtle difference in the mix and making to mess with my mind and memory … of course, all in the most effective of ways.
This version of “Luminous Beings” still retains the otherworldly bliss and ambiance, while filling all the spacious moments with lush, beautifully contemplative vocals.
Don’t read me wrong. The original track is perfect as is. But hearing Owen’s contributions make me feel like I didn’t even know I needed it.
She also adds a bit of immediacy to the epically subdued experience, which still runs a little over seven hypnotically chill minutes. Owens seems to open a doorway of aural accessibility, as if her vocals were always present.
Now, I’m not sure how I feel about going back to the original version, which of course, I still love. Good problems to have.
So here’s the alternate version of “Luminous Beings,” featuring the voice of Kelly Lee Owens.
“Luminous Spaces” from the 2019 single, featuring Kelly Lee Owens.
To keep things fair and balanced, as well as provide a bit more context, I’ve included Owen’s latest single, “Night,” which debuted last month. It’s quite like-minded to Hopkins’ more beat-oriented material from his 2018 LP “Singularity,” while still exuding those etheric layers that permeate much of her material.
There’s almost a bit of old-school WARP Records going on – Black Dog, B-12, Polygon Window styled milieu. I can see why Hopkins chose to work with her.
Here’s Kelly Lee Owens’ “Night.”
“Night” from the Kelly Lee Owen’s 2020 single.
Lastly, since I don’t really have any worthwhile footage of Hopkins’ live performance, I found this show from 2019 on YouTube. If memory serves correctly, it looks and sounds like the one I saw in 2018 at the Fonda. It’s all handheld smartphone footage, which is about the benchmark quality that I include on this site concerning my own footage. So it fits quite squarely into my concert wheelhouse. “Luminous Beings” appears around the 46 minute mark.
Check it out.
One more thing … Since I’ve been talking about that 2018 Fonda show so much, I figured I owed a setlist, at the very least. I’m actually surprised I didn’t feature one earlier. Anyway, here ya’ go …
Kelly Lee Owens: