Inspired by an expedition into Ecuador’s ancient caves, the vaunted techno producer presents an immersive ambient album designed to accompany guided trips.
What music should soundtrack the psychedelic revolution? That’s one of many meta-inquiries bewildering neuroscientists as they work to make psychedelic-assisted therapy more widely available—and legal. The music, they’ve discovered, really matters, since it not only supports the trip but can actually shape it, steering the patient toward new mental frontiers. And yet, most clinical researchers have still been using the same choppy playlists of Brahms, Bach, and the Beatles. They wanted something better—something less familiar, more bespoke—and Jon Hopkins was determined to fill the void.
In 2018, the British electronic producer set off on a mission to conceptualize a new genre of music specifically engineered to enhance guided trips. That, he has said, is how he wound up in a cave in the Amazon rainforest, marveling at nature and thinking about synths. The field recordings from that expedition form the basis of Music for Psychedelic Therapy, his immersive soundtrack to consciousness exploration that’s timed to the length of a ketamine high. A glacial, continuous ambient piece that draws on the epic beauty of nature, it’s a thoughtful blueprint for what the future of this field might sound like: spacious, delicate, comforting, a pastel mural of sound.