Late-night TV performances in the quarantine era are basically low-budget music videos now. Although plenty of them are still equivalent to an artist going live on Instagram, a handful of performers have been moving beyond strumming a guitar in front of their bookshelves toward more creative visual presentation — Nick Hakim, for example.
Lately Stephen Colbert has been publishing performances direct to his show’s Twitter account. The newest one is by Hakim, the psychedelic soul singer from Brooklyn, in support of his recent sophomore album Will This Make Me Good. In front of a looping animated backdrop that essentially amounts to a hand-drawn screensaver, Hakim sang “Qadir,” his album’s lead single.
“Qadir” is a heavy song, a tribute to a friend whose death Hakim is still mourning: “Some of us wear masks/ To hide the pain/ And I just wish I could ask.” The track’s numbing repetition and bleary atmospherics remain intact here, but visual touches like colorful snaking audio cords and Hakim’s bandmates appearing in bubbles lend the footage a surreal quality that lightens that heaviness the way helium might. Watch below.
Will This Make Me Good is out now on ATO.