Jon Hopkins announces his new album, Music For Psychedelic Therapy, out November 12th (digitally/CD) and February 11th (LP) on Domino. Today, he presents the album closer, “Sit Around The Fire,” a unique collaboration between Hopkins, producer and ceremony guide East Forest and legendary guru, the late Ram Dass.
Music for Psychedelic Therapy is Hopkins’ first full-length since sister albums, the GRAMMY-nominated Singularity (2018), “a beat-music odyssey that thrums with spiritual resonance” (Pitchfork) and Immunity (2013). For this collection, Hopkins wanted to make something that faced the opposite direction, something egoless and introspective, made with total, raw honesty. “It felt like time for a reset, to wait for music to appear from a different place,” says Hopkins. That place ended up being Tayos Caves in Ecuador, where Hopkins went on a life-changing creative expedition in 2018.
“‘Sit Around The Fire’ exists from one of the deep synchronicities that ushered this thing (Music For Psychedelic Therapy) into being,” comments Hopkins. “I was contacted by East Forest, who had spent some time with Ram Dass in Hawaii before he passed. He was given access to several lesser-heard talks from the 70s, and asked to set them to music. He sent me some starting points, including the beautiful choral vocals he recorded which open the piece. I put my headphones on and with Ram Dass’ voice inside my head, I sat at the piano and improvised. What you hear is the first thing that came out – it just appeared in response to the words.”
The “Sit Around The Fire” video was made by Tom Readdy and Lucy Dawkins at Yes Please using beautiful animated imagery from the pages of Ram Dass’ iconic book Be Here Now, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
Hopkins elaborates on Music For Psychedelic Therapy: “What grew from this experience is an album with no beats, not one drum sound, something that is closer to a classical symphony than a dance / electronica record. Something that is more like having an experience than listening to a piece of music. Maybe something far more emotionally honest than I had been comfortable making before – a merging of music, nature and my own desire to heal. The freedom from traditional rhythmic structures unlocked so much – it felt like I was free to explore a new form of rhythm, one that you discover when you just allow things to flow without letting yourself get in the way.
“Music For Psychedelic Therapy is not ambient, classical or drone but has elements of all three. For me it’s a place as much as it is a sound. It works for the sober mind, but takes on a new dimension entirely when brought into a psychedelic ceremony. In my own psychedelic explorations testing this music, I found a quote I had read would keep coming to mind. ‘Music is liquid architecture, architecture is frozen music.’ I love this idea of music as something you inhabit, something that works on you energetically. In fact, it was while in that state that the title appeared to me. Psychedelic-assisted therapies are moving into legality across the world, and yet it feels like no one is talking about the music; the music is as important as the medicine.”
Music For Psychedelic Therapy was self-produced and recorded. Field recordings on “Tayos Caves, Ecuador” are by Mendel Kaelen and multi-dimensional synthesis and woodland surround are by 7RAYS.
Hopkins will present the first Music For Psychedelic Therapy event in collaboration with New York Times Bestselling author and renowned podcast host Aubrey Marcus in Austin, TX on September 21st. The evening will feature a ceremonial concert performance from East Forest followed by an immersive playback of Music For Psychedelic Therapy in full. There will also be a live Q&A between Aubrey Marcus and both artists. Tickets are on sale here.