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  • Cy White

Nick Hakim & Roy Nathanson: Small Things

Chilling, dissonant. Nick Hakim at some of his moodiest. A dark shade of gray reminiscent of Lance Skiiiwalker's Introverted Intuition ("Things to Like and Not Like in America"). Commentary as much as romance, Small Things reaches out for something primal, something inherently raw and from the gut. It's smooth, Nathanson's sax and his unpretentious poetry made sure of that. It doesn't bump along too many cracks or potholes. But there's most certainly a craggy texture to it. Less silk than it is worn denim. A soul ragged and aged but still beautiful, full of life and wearable.

This is a lush album with a great deal to digest. It twists and turns in the gut, making the limbs feel heavy from the heady liquor of Hakim's voice and Nathanson's musicianship and words. It's darkly gorgeous, sun encased in haze right at the moment when the dawn meets the sky.

Track "Moonman" rises above the heavy mist and gives us something truly and blessedly ethereal. One thing you have to know: Nick Hakim is a master of reverb. The use of it, adding physical (aural) layers to the sound to force the listeners into his world by sheer amount of volume and echo. Emotive without being melodramatic, meaningful without being preachy or pedantic.

This collaborative EP really is a luxury of sound. You feel like you're being spoiled, but in a way that still connects you to the earth. The moment you feel too brushed with privilege, a heavily pitched voice throws you out of the reverie, if only for a moment. But it's enough to keep you suspended in midair as the tracks finish their triumphant march to their eventual (though not inevitable) conclusions. It's poetry just because poetry is and because music is.

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