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Nick Hakim, 'Vertigo'

Since releasing his smoldering 2017 breakthrough, Green Twins, the psych-soul singer-songwriter Nick Hakim has steadily blurred his sound. His 2020 follow-up, Will This Make Me Good, was uninhibited and sometimes amorphous, and on his collaboration with jazz saxophonist Roy Nathanson, Small Things, the performances he delivered were often even fainter, as indistinct as the faces in a crowd on a rainy night. "Vertigo," from the forthcoming COMETA, leans all the way into his progression, using the warped dimensions of his songcraft to enter a space where a moment lasts a lifetime.

The title gives away the sensations at play. The song's slo-mo, out-of-focus appeal only enhances its lyrics about a lovestruck encounter so tender yet intense that it seems to distort time itself. The quiet patter of the drums and the whirring arrangement of guitars and synths create a sort of carousel effect — incandescent and swiveling; disorienting if you zone out. Hakim's music often has this dizzying, punch-drunk quality, but here he verbalizes the reaction ("Can't tell if it's me or the room that's moving"), playing off of the action. It might be difficult to reorient if not for the echo. There isn't a hook, but there are repeated phrases to latch onto: "Slow down," he pleas. "Make this moment last." Yet as they repeat, they, too, start to feed into the cyclical excitement of an endless romp. The harder you try to pull away, the deeper you sink.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Sheldon Pearce
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
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