Echo Park, CA- Three years in the making, Nick Hakim’s eagerly anticipated, debut full-length album (“Green Twins”) was released earlier this year. It’s an album that melds psychedelic soul and funk wrapped in an ethereal, downtempo cloak of mellow vibes. Imagine taking a 33 1/3 RPM Shuggie Otis record and slowing it down to 45 RPM without distortion, maintaining a deeply rooted sensuality and tenderness. That was my initial impressive and it’s an impressive debut that gives the listener a clear sense of who Nick is and what he wants to convey.

His live performance at The Echoplex was the physical manifestation of his music. Seemingly shy and reserved as he approached center stage, his voice- and his music- showered those in attendance with emotionally stirring music that’s even more spiritual as he whispers and coos melodies that would otherwise be inaudible but for the sensitive pick up of the microphones used. The audience, which was rambunctious and boisterous earlier in the evening, was silent in mesmerized awe during the performance, hanging on every softly sung lyric that Nick emoted from the depths of his soul.

And although the focus of the performance was keenly on Nick and the words he sang, one would be remiss to not also give credit to the music that sets the otherworldly tone in which Nick preaches his stories and themes of love. His musical arrangements set the mood through complex and delicately precise instrumentation which seem deceptively simple. His use of the keyboard on certain tracks (I wish I could recall the titles … maybe it was “I Don’t Know” …) was particularly intriguing to me as it almost sounded at times like he was having a conversation with the melodic line that was being played as he sang.

Nick Hakim and his music set a mood for the evening, and that mood was sensually satisfying for the soul. If you are to get lost in that kind of bliss, I don’t think you could do much better than seeing Nick Hakim perform live.

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