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Hi.

Welcome to Rob Hakimian’s website, collecting together the best of his writing from over the years.

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Underworld - Barbara, Barbara, we face a shining future

[Astralwerks]

“Life, it’s a touch / everything is golden.” Thus begins Barbara, Barbara we face a shining future, the first album from dance/rave pioneers Underworld for 6 years. Despite being almost 3 decades into their career, the group sounds just as vital and enamoured with life as they have ever been. Barbara is an album that tones back their more hardcore drum’n’bass/rave sounds for more weightless, hovering dance numbers. They seem to allow the listener a different frame through which to see the world, and highlight all the insignificantly beautiful little things in all around.

This joy for existence is palpable throughout, starting with the vaunting “I Exhale”; scouring synthesizers recreate the busy hubbub of a city street, while background effects and vocals hint at all the life teeming in the cracks. Then there’s Karl Hyde in the middle of it all, like a traffic conductor pointing out all the glories of the world; “Glass crown / In a blue sky / Asbestos Roofs / Corrugated rhythms / Big blue blah blah blah.” This abstract detail continues into the bouncy “If Rah,” which builds steadily, repeatedly encouraging you to “have a good time,” and ultimately getting lost in ode to the moon, blissfully repeating “Luna, luna, luna luna.” Then the seductive opening half of the album is rounded out by the classic slowly-unfurling Underworld mild trance sound of “Low Burn,” which seems to float up into a hazy setting sun as it reminds you “Be bold / be beautiful / be free / totally / Unlimited.”

The second half of Barbara, Barbara is like the long, slow blissful comedown. The quicksilver beatitude of “Ova Nova” can’t help but get under your skin as it pleads innocently “change your mind,” and given the delightful atmosphere it creates you can hardly resist. The album closes with “Nylon Strung,” the simplistically beautiful glowing purple trail of a gorgeous comet flying through the cosmos. It’s the perfect wind down to an album full of overwhelming euphoria.

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Below you can see my top 50 albums of the year list.

50| Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - EARS
49| Thee Oh Sees - A Weird Exits
48| Daughter - Not To Disappear
47| The Avalanches - Wildflower
46| Beyonce - Lemonade
45| Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
44| Gold Panda - Good Luck and Do Your Best
43| James Blake - The Colour In Anything
42| Lambchop - FLOTUS
41| Ty Segall - Emotional Mugger
40| Nothing - Tired Of Tomorrow
39| Camp Cope - Camp Cope
38| Cymbals Eat Guitars - Pretty Years
37| Aphex Twin - Cheetah EP
36| Mary Lattimore - At The Dam
35| Woods - City Sun Eater In The River Of Light
34| White Lung - Paradise
33| Solange - A Seat At The Table
32| Wild Beasts - Boy King
31| Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition
30| Marissa Nadler - Strangers
29| Weyes Blood - Front Row Seat To Earth
28| Kevin Morby - Singing Saw
27| Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.
26| Whitney - Light Upon The Lake
25| Kedr Livanskiy - January Sun
24| Frankie Cosmos - Next Thing
23| Steve Gunn - Eyes On The Lines
22| Pantha du Prince - The Triad
21| Cass McCombs - Mangy Love
20| Cavern of Anti-Matter - void beats/invocation trex
19| Olga Bell - Tempo
18| Chairlift - Moth
17| Mitski - Puberty 2
16| Anderson .Paak - Malibu
15| Underworld - Barbara, Barbara we face a shining futuree
14| Xenia Rubinos - Black Terry Cat
13| Savages - Adore Life
12| DIIV - Is The Is Are
11| Frank Ocean - Blonde
10| Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch
09| MONEY - Suicide Songs
08| Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial
07| A Tribe Called Quest - We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service
06| Nicolas Jaar - Sirens
05| Angel Olsen - My Woman
04| Parquet Courts - Human Performance
03| Preoccupations - Preoccupations
02| ANOHNI - Hopelessness
01| Blood Orange - Freetown Sound

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