Deriving its name from the Spanish word for “kite,” JOVM mainstay Nick Hakim‘s fourth album Cometa was recorded between studios and domestic spaces throughout Texas, North Carolina, California and New York. Featuring contributions from contributions from Alex G. (piano) and Abe Rounds (drums), the 10-song album is a collection of romantic songs written through different lenses, guided by Hakim’s experience of falling in love that made him feel like he was floating.
That dizzying, out-of-body sensation is the central them that anchors the album’s material, with Hakim using the extreme distance between a kite and a comet as a metaphor for the depth of one’s love for someone else — and being so humbled by it. “The key is to find that extremity of love for yourself,” Hakim says in press notes. “It’s about growing into someone you want to be; it’s about finding pure love within yourself when the world around us seems to be crumbling.”
For Hakim, the purpose of Cometa is less about constructing a narrative around romance and more about exploration through 10 complex compositions woven with aching metaphors throughout. Of course, while for Hakim there are special memories attached to each song, he prefers to leave them open to interpretation, offering the listener a comfortable space to develop their own connections to the material. “I think it’s nice to have love in your life and to have people that are sharing and wanting that,” Hakim explains. “It’s my interpretation of a really romantic way to express love in my own way.”
Cometa‘s first single “Happen” is centered around a sparse and unfussy arrangement of strummed guitar, brief bursts of twinkling keys, atmospheric synths and cymbal-driven percussion paired with Hakim’s breathily cooed delivery. The song sees the JOVM mainstay subtly pushing his sound and approach in a new direction while still maintaining the dreamy and earnest essence at the core of his work. And “Happen” may well be the best example of what to expect from the album, as the song evokes the sensation of weightlessness — and then gently floating away beyond your control.
Directed by Johan Carlsson and shot in Roy Andersson’s Studio 24 in Sweden, the accompanying visual is rooted in the concept of “sonder,” the profound feeling of realizing that everyone, including strangers passing in the street, has a life with experiences and emotions as vivid and complex as one’s own. The video is a dreamy, slow-motion one-shot that pans to various commuters sharing a train car before closing out on Hakim.
“The idea for the video is very simple, we see people on a subway, all busy with their different lives, some are in great spirits and some in deep thoughts maybe because of trouble at work or in their personal life. Sometimes when you’re in a public space you’re not interested in your fellow human beings at all and sometimes looking at them is so interesting that you can’t stop,” Johan Carlsson says of the video. “I hope this video can be an example of when people are interesting to look at, in a way that helps you reflect on your own life. I think Nick’s music is fantastic and has a cinematic and visual quality I hope comes through in the video,” he adds.
Cometa is slated for an October 21, 2022 release through ATO Records.