HAKANAI by Jake Farber
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Brooklyn-based mathy indie rockers HAKANAI premiere intricate tracks; listen!

4 mins read

HAKANAI, a Brooklyn-based band dabbling in indie rock, post-punk, and math rock influences, are joining us today to revive our math rock section and entrance you with their new singles “Woman, Bird, Star” and “Foundation“. The first one comes as a jagged and upbeat track, written and recorded in a single day in full live takes, with partial improvisation and vocals later overlaid. Lyrically, it’s about romantically obsessing over an artist, taking its title from a painting by Miró. Our today’s premiere, “Foundation”, comes as a more textured and layered track. The lyrics are something of a rumination on urban ennui and its ensuant escapism. The accompanying music video was filmed in various industrial neighborhoods of Boston, and spliced together into a glitchy and sporadic video comprised of over 600 individual cuts. Dive into both jams below and share with your friends if you dig it.

The release date or “Woman, Bird, Star” is slated for March 11th, while “Foundation” will hit the streets on April 20th. Both tracks are just one-off singles as the band is finishing up an album to be released later this year. The following singles won’t be included.

Hakanai is a Brooklyn-based band fronted by Matt Lombardi, featuring various collaborators and lineups. The project was originally conceived of and formed in Boston after recruiting guitarist Bryan Swords, bassist Dave Lishansky, bassist/guitarist Charlie Iwuc, and drummer Tyler Gilbert, with Matt on guitar and singing. Jake Farber and Zach Cadman would frequently join on keys and brass, respectively. After several members’ relocations, the project was put in a state of suspension until reforming late last year in Brooklyn to begin anew the process of writing, rehearsing, recording, and performing. The band is currently recording a full-length album.

“Over this past autumn and winter, I’ve started noticing a lot of these disparate bands and scenes starting to gravitate towards each other and conglomerate into a genuine scene that flaunts the same sound we’ve always striven for. Hakanai’s sound has always been in this weird nether region, seemingly too irregular or abrasive for the traditional indie scene, not quite brooding and reverb-y enough for post-rock, but not technical or insouciant enough for the prog scene. Finally meeting and discovering bands who share our sound and passion for independent ethos is heartening. We’re excited to start playing more shows with these newfound compatriots and building up our little NYC community of guitar-centric experimental bands.” – Matt

Covers by Matt Lombardi


“Foundation was originally recorded as layers of simple, looping glitch patterns, comprised of guitar played through a strange delay pedal. While contemplating what direction the song should take, whether it was to become ambient, lo-fi, electronic, or full-band, I switched over to bass and tried out a few ideas. Almost unintentionally, I ended up writing a busy, uptempo bass line that seemed to demand equally energetic drums. I brought the track to our drummer Tyler and we came up with a few different rhythms that would play under the looping guitars. Not being able to commit to one groove over the other, we simply decided to use all of them. As a result, the track bounces between rhythmically contrasting sections: switching from a half-time triplet beat to a busier 8th-note groove in the middle of the verse, and vice-versa in the chorus. The drums in the bridge/outro were based on the original bassline, lending itself to a somewhat uptempo Latin groove. From there we added some tapping guitar parts, synths, tape loops, auxiliary percussion, mbira, and some vocal samples performed by my friend Alexandra. The lyrics are something of a rumination on urban ennui and its ensuant escapism. To supplement this theme, we filmed a music video in some of the industrial areas of Boston, which I then spliced together into this increasingly frenetic video comprising over 600 individual cuts. It took forever to finish but I think it looks neat.” – Matt


In a swelling tide of bodies and endless summer smiles.
And with tact, she climbs above the ageless and the stars.
I find myself entranced upon the end of the city’s blank divide.
And in a lapse of mind, I swore she lifted air,
Phased through the misted forest’s edge,
Surrounded oxygen and fled into the dark, singing:
Wait for me there,
Wait for the answers.
Wait for me there,
Wait for the answers.

“Woman, Bird, Star”

“Woman, Bird, Star is a song that germinated out of this central fingerpicked pattern that I initially wrote years back. I distinctly remember writing it in a quick bout of inspiration upon returning to my apartment after spending a day at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. My girlfriend at the time was particularly struck by this Rodin sculpture, and I got to see some of the works of Miró, whom I’ve always adored. We broke up maybe a year later, and I came back to this little idea. I brought it to our drummer Tyler and we riffed on it repeatedly, feeling it out until a structure emerged from within the idea. We recorded the instrumentals in single live takes, improvising some parts while striving for that raw band-in-a-room sound. I listened back to the scratch demo over and over, searching for a theme for the lyrics, when I vaguely recalled the context in which I’d written the original guitar part. The lyrics and melody then flowed seamlessly into the song, a contented reflection on that day spent in the MFA with someone important to me, and the resultant dolor stemming from the harsh dissolution of love. This song was not originally intended to be released but simply acted as a convenient outlet for convalescence. But we all liked it for its simplicity and figured maybe some other people might too.” – Matt


She is a cruel sculptress.
Like Rodin and his Rose,
We’ll ameliorate and in time, decompose.
She carves the moon into my chest,
Sprawled again amongst the unrest.
She paints her face in a Miró/mirror.
Our fingers catching in the soft glow.
She bites my tongue until it bleeds.
I bide the time until it recedes.
She stains the canvas with my woe.
Our fingers crimson in the marble snow.

Other artists recommendations:

Some of the bands mentioned above include Concrete Concrete, Shake the Baby Til the Love Comes Out, Good Looking Friends, It Came From Space, and Taking Meds.

All blindingly talented musicians, making strikingly original material with genuine love. I’m blown away every time I see them play.

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