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Supersonic: Jon Hopkins

The artful composer and Brian Eno collaborator tell us why music is "painful, but worth it."

Supersonic explores the challenges of taking electronic music from the studio to the stage. Interspersing compelling live footage with artist interviews, we reveal the ideas, process, and inner workings of innovative artists operating in the space between the technological and the organic.

When Jon Hopkins busted on the scene last month with his fourth solo album, Immunity, everyone looked around at each other bewildered like, "Where the hell did this guy come from?" And, more importantly, "Can someone pick the pieces of my brain off the walls?" Turns out the 33-year-old Hopkins has been refining his sound—a fusion of delicate classical compositions and adrenaline-laden techno—for years behind the scenes with some of history's most acclaimed acts: first as a keyboardist for Imogen Heap, then as a collaborator of Brian Eno and Coldplay.

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This only partially explains the technical virtuosity, emotional depth and—dare I say it?—transcendent feeling of that floats through every one of Hopkins' melodies. The rest can be chalked up to the fact that the dude agonizes for weeks over his compositions, waiting for that so-called "breakthrough moment" when everything falls into place. In a hot, sticky summer full of copycat DJs and forgettable hits, Hopkins' complexity is a restoring spritz of mist.

In the second installment of our Supersonic series, we catch up with him after his performance at Montreal's MUTEK festival and pick his brain about the obsessive creative process he picked up from Eno, the mesmerizing microscope footage in his new audio-visual show, and why he finds making music "painful, but worth it."

Jon Hopkins is hitting both North American and Europe on his Immunity tour. Check out the full list of dates here.Big props to Linden Gledhill and The Creators Project for allowing us to use the microscopic imagery Gledhill created for Immunity.