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 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.”
Last month, I wrote about Cometa‘s first single, “Happen.” 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. 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. But ultimately, the song evokes the sensation of weightlessness — and then gently floating away beyond your control.
“Vertigo,” Cometa‘s woozy second single is 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. Interestingly, “Vertigo” was the first song recorded for the album — and is inspired by Stevie Wonder, with Hakim layering synths on top of each other to depict the dizzying sensation of trying to stay focused on someone when it feels like the world around you is spinning.
Directed by Asil Baykal, the accompanying video for “Vertigo” was shot in Bosnia-Herzegovina and sees Hakim sitting in a rotating house built by Vojin Kusic, who created the space for his wife, so that she had the ability to change her view at the flip of a switch.
“The making of the video spanned over a transformative year, and our collaborative friendship with Nick became the center of the journey,” Baykal explains. “Initially, Nick showed me a video of a Tuxedomoon performance from Downtown 81. It was filmed in the studio where the camera was spinning in the middle.” She adds, “That idea gave life to the lyrics ‘ Spinnin’, fast as hell can’t tell if it’s me or the room that’s moving’. The room evolved into a moving house by a man who built it for his wife. Love is dizzying with multiple spins.”
Cometa is slated for an October 21, 2022 release through ATO Records.