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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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Nicolas Jaar - Sirens

[Other People]

It was January 2011 when Nicolas Jaar last released a solo album, the brilliantly weird Space Is Only Noise, and since then he has been filling his time with many random and unpredictable releases from the excellent Darkside album, to the reimagined soundtrack for the 1969 film The Colour of Pomegranates, to his series of ever-intriguing Nymphs singles. In fact, it had been so long since he’d put out a proper solo album that it seemed he might just be settling into a Burial-like career of randomly released singles and EPs. But then, on September 30th, Jaar surprise dropped a new album, Sirens, and immediately re-affirmed himself as one of the most genius electronic producers in the world. And he brought something else to the table this time: himself, his opinions and his cutting political lyrics.

Sirens starts off very quietly with “Killing Time,” building with a flag flapping in the wind, into what sounds like a glass piano shattering into a rainbow of colours. From there Jaar’s voice comes creeping in for the first time, and he begins to expostulate about the current and historic political problems of his native Chile. Jaar doesn’t remain quiet throughout the album, because the rage he expresses in these lyrics, while working well in the quiet “Killing Time,” become even more venomous when we get to the more booming tracks. “The Governor,” musically, sounds like a pumped-up jam for kicking a rave into overdrive, but lyrically it is brutally oblique, with phrases like “We’ve allowed for a wheel of loss and desire / now there’s no way to put out the fire,” or “Yea we’re all just rolling, the mothers have sunk / all the blood’s hidden in the Governor’s trunk.”

He uses audio clips of himself as a child talking to his father in Spanish, intimating a gentle innocence in “Leaves,” but this then gives way to the harrumphing “No,” the most outspoken and best track on the album. Jaar sings in Spanish throughout “No,” expressing himself in no uncertain terms: (translated) “And it was that day that I saw myself in twenty years / and nothing changes, no nothing changes.” Then comes the main thrust of the song, which graces the album’s cover: “Ya dijimos no / pero el si esta en todo,” (“We already said no / but the yes is in everything”) making an anthemic statement in a language I don’t speak, but will sing along to every time.

Sirens finishes with the beautiful warped doo-wop “History Lesson.” It’s sung and produced like a love/heartbreak song, and perhaps it is, but it could be heartbreak about a partner, or just as likely about Chile: “Chapter one: We fucked up / Chapter two: we did it again, and again, and again, and again.” It’s a poignant final message, but through his mind-expanding musical productions, Jaar gives us hope, revolt and light shining through it all.

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

[Click on the album art at the top to download the album]

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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