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

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ANOHNI - Hopelessness

[Rough Trade]

In her previous musical incarnation, Antony & the Johnsons, ANOHNI was known for making relaxed, melancholic folk-ish music. Since the beginning, ANOHNI has been something completely different, and if it weren’t for her idiosyncratically ethereal voice, you’d never guess that they were from the same mind. Hopelessness is the first album as ANOHNI, and with the help of Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke on production duties, it is a blockbuster gut punch of in-your-face avant pop music.

From the very beginning ANOHNI sets things out very clearly; “Drone Bomb Me” is a majestic swoop of a song, but, as its title suggests, it is not exactly a happy one. ANOHNI unflinchingly takes on the role of an unsuspecting civilian in a developing country that could be destroyed by American drones at any moment. Her pleas of “choose me tonight” take on a completely different sheen in this context; a creeping, unsettling thought that any night could be the last if a bomb happens to land in their vicinity. Second track “4 Degrees” switches from war to the equally distressing topic of climate change. In this song she undermines people’s disregard of the worrying changes humans are bringing upon our Earth in her deliberately airy claim “it’s only 4 degrees,” before she brashly states “I want to see the animals die in the trees.” It’s a devastating track musically, politically and biologically. On to the next track, “Watch Me,” and we’re discussing governments’ illegal monitoring everyone’s digital communications, with cold production from HudMo devilishly bringing out the seediness of these behaviours. The album continues mostly in this vain with tracks like “Execution,” “Crisis,” and “Marrow.” In a year when everyone (in my news feed) seemed to be having a love-in about President Obama as his second term drew to a close, ANOHNI was one of the few strong dissenting voices, eviscerating the President’s actions on the scouring and chilling “Obama.”

Despite the heavy subject material the trio of ANOHNI, Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke have constructed songs that are massive and engrossing. HudMo’s maximalist pop production makes songs like “Execution” and “Why Did You Separate Me From The Earth?” into bright, sparkly jewels of songs, in which you would never see the grit unless you paid attention to the lyrical content. OPN is often at the helm for the more insidious tracks, giving “I Don’t Love You Anymore” an ice cold edge, or providing a pinwheel of creeping emotions on “Violent Men.”

Overall, Hopelessness is one of the most confounding albums of the year, as it manages this seemingly impossible balance of vibrant electronic pop with dark and heavy political content. It’s a combination that works magnificently, despite the seeming incongruity, and keeps me coming back again and again.

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Below you can see my top 50 albums of the year list (so far).

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

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