rob and snail mail lindsey jordan.jpg

Hi.

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

19.

19.

Olga Bell - Tempo

[One Little Indian]

Tempo is an album that is entwined with the modern human experience. In the process of creating it, Olga Bell took an interest in how different tempos suit or provoke different moods, and she decided to undergo writing a new song using a BPM that suited her mood on that day. This means an album that stays strictly in the art-pop realm, but can flit from sludgy thinkers to perky dancers with ease. Lyrically, Bell takes us into her psyche and her experiences with the world and people around her, describing them matter-of-factly in a way that makes their presence tangible to the listener. She faces down arrogant people in “Power User”; talks about how a good caffeine hit can get her “feeling like a weirdo” in “Doppio”; or demand that you “stop when you see me and look me in the eye” in the stunning bridge of 90s-esque pop jam “Ritual.”

Bell did a lot of research into electronic music production in the creation of Tempo, going to clubs by herself, investigating popular young electronic musicians, and reading about how and what they use to make their sounds. She stated that she wanted to “use sounds that [she] thought of as really commercial and almost kind of gross.” The result is a very crisp and clean sounding album – although she may have taken nods from contemporary chart house in terms of equipment, she certainly hasn’t followed in their maximalist build-build-build-DROP formula. Instead she has crafted a set of devilishly catchy and alert pop songs that are themselves often like a caffeine boost. The bubbling percussive undercurrent to “Randomness” perfectly underscores the feeling of meaningless information flying at you from all sides, and when the bouncy chorus drops with Bell’s disaffected repetition of the title, the result is a mesmerizing moment of happiness amongst confusion. “Zone” is another highlight, encouraging the listener to “get in the zone, connect that shit on your own,” delivered like a teasing-yet-encouraging pal, over a pristine white backdrop with simplistic shades perfectly capturing the essence of the message.

The album doesn’t shy away from the negative feelings that come with the human condition either. There’s the damnation of “Your Life Is A Lie,” or the fear of impending doom on closer “America.” But my favourite is “ATA,” which includes the lyrics “Am I dead? Am I fucking useless? No-one reads what I’ve said. No-one gets in my head,” which I can say for sure is a feeling I’ve certainly shared at many points. But she rescues it with a perfect encapsulation:

“The sun said: Baby it’s tough, but don’t get low. Our work is humble, daily I rise; daily you write.”

---

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 future
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

18.

18.

20.

20.