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 Alex G. (piano) and Abe Rounds (drums), and collaborations with DJ Dahi, Helado Negro and Arto Lindsay, 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 theme 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 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.”
So far I’ve written about three of Cometa‘s single:
- Centered around a sparse and unfussy arrangement of strummed guitar, bursts of twinkling keys, atmospheric synths and cymbal-driven percussion paired with Hakim’s breathily cooed delivery, “Happen,” 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. But ultimately, the song evokes the sensation of weightlessness — and then gently floating away beyond your control.
- “Vertigo,” a woozy song centered around a dusty, analog-like production featuring an arraignment of strummed guitar, skittering boom bap and layers of whirring synths paired with Hakim’s achingly tender vocals. The song depicts the dizzying sensation of trying to stay focused on someone when it feels like the world around you in spinning out of control.
- “M1,” a DJ Dahi co-produced song centered around a breezy arrangement featuring a skittering beat loop, choir-like synth stabs and wobbling low-end. The arrangement serves as a silky and ethereal bed for Hakim’s achingly plaintive and soulful falsetto. The song captures Hakim having fun while continuing upon the album’s overall vibe.
Cometa‘s fourth and latest single “Feeling Myself” takes some sonic cues from Iggy Pop‘s David Bowie-produced The Idiot with a subtle nod to Chaka Khan and Rufus’ “Ain’t Nobody.” And as a result, “Feeling Myself” is a swaggering and confident sonic departure for the JOVM mainstay that captures the energy boosting confidence that comes from being in love — with yourself and with someone else.
“I’ve never really written anything that’s like that in terms of the personas,” Hakim explains. “Where I’m coming from is always conversational like I’m talking to someone… I’m being nice to myself and the energy boosting around is confidence and loving yourself in a way that you haven’t really felt in a long time.”
Directed by Jack Greeley-Ward, the accompanying video for “Feeling Myself” features a slick and feverish mix of animation by Ana Projects and Super 8-like footage of Hakim in various locations in and around New York and photography of Hakim and collaborators in the studio.
Cometa is slated for a Friday release through ATO Records.