Nick Hakim – Cometa

An exciting return that breaks new ground...

Nick Hakim is a proper talent. When he released ‘Where Will We Go (Part 1 and 2)’ in 2014 it was evident Hakim was something different. This was followed up with 2017’s ‘Green Twins’. A split 12” for Record Store Day with Onyx Collective in 2018 solidified this. 2020’s ‘Will This Make Me Good’ elevated Hakim’s reputation even further and last year’s ‘Small Things’ with underrated jazz hero Roy Nathanson was, well, nothing like Hakim had released to date. It was an album that played to both musician’s strengths and created something fun, vibrant and, most importantly, interesting. 

On his new solo album, ‘Cometa’, Hakim really takes things up a notch delivering killer melodies and delightful lyrics. “Can’t tell if it’s me or the room that’s moving” and “slow down, make this moment last” paint a picture of someone who is happy, content and loving being in love. 

‘Ani’ opens the album with scratchy guitars, hazy vocals, laidback drums. This isn’t the Hakim we’re used to. Its more lo-fi. Ad-hoc. As the off-kilter melodies rise, and fall, we’re off somewhere Hakim hasn’t taken us before. ‘Happen’ is even more ramshackle than ‘Ani’ but this is part of its charm. ‘Feeling Myself’ sounds more like the Hakim we’ve come to know. Cascading synths, terse 4/4 beats and a deep bassline feels like something from ‘Will This Make Me Good’ but, you know, pushed to the next level. And this is what Nick Hakim continually does. Each album has been a progression of sounds and ideas. Building on the momentum of the last one, but never re-treading the same old ground. And this is why Hakim is such an exciting, and inspiring, artist. 

Isaiah Barr, from Onyx Collective, also features on the album. Barr’s inclusion is kind of a given but it really elevates the tracks he appears on. While listening to the album I wonder if Barr and Hakim will collaborate in the way Nathanson did. This is a fun thought to have. It doesn’t really enhance the listening experience but doesn’t dampener it either. 

‘Cometa’ is Hakim’s strongest, and most personal, album to date. Musically ‘Cometa’ sounds like an old C-90 cassette found by the side of the road. The music is wonky and distressed. The lyrics are half-spoken, half-crooned; everything sounds like it being played at the wrong speed, but it feels right because of it. This is Hakim at his best.


Words: Nick Roseblade

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