This Farao article was written by Fraisia Dunn, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse
‘Till It’s All Forgotten’ is the debut album from Norwegian artist Farao, aka Kari Jahnsen. The album was produced by Tunng’s Mike Lindsay and his multi-instrumental folk-pop style is all over the record. This album tackles the difficult in-between bits in the world; unresolvable issues within our relationships, our heads; feelings that we need to face up to rationally.
The album starts with ‘TIAF,’ a build from upbeat handclaps is soon joined by an organ scale and a low swooping electronic drone. The lyrics are elusive – “No one’s listening, the walls pull you in. We can talk to you, we can see it through”. The music grows in complexity, “if you keep living your life, you may not have to live with this problem on your shoulder forever”. It is an incantation for hopeful forgetting.
‘Bodies,’ opens with what is almost an ‘80s sci-fi synth that is soon joined by a driving rhythm . The vocal melody starts with a dramatic time change into 3/4 that is punctuated by a rattle snake like drum roll on the end of every bar. The lyrics go around and around telling a tale of a relationship defined by positive reinforcement; “Our bodies melt and they will collide every time I say that I believe you.“
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‘Hunter,’ seems to be about returning home, about that all-consuming love of a parent who will hunt you down. ‘Maze’ opens with a mellow piano loop full of grace notes and jazz like scales. This is followed by the chunky bass line of ‘Feel,’ supercharged with whooping electronics anchored by powerful tuba. ‘Anchor’ opens with a series of organ jabs and a strong atonal vocal covering the topic of not being a trophy wife/girlfriend.
With ‘Warriors’ you can sense the expanse of a Norwegian sky. The track opens with strong drums followed by a pentatonic Chinese-sounding scale. Jahnsen sings of coming home, a meeting with an old friend; they could have been warriors fighting to survive, perhaps in their homeland. Definitely the poppiest song on the album, this is Farao at her best: original, strong, and hard to pin down as she winds through uncharted territory.
The final two tracks are as complex and difficult to pin down, ‘Are You Real’ finishes off the album with a joyous cacophony and lightness of heart, mingled with the heaviness of the ultimate question.
Overall, ‘Till It’s All Forgotten’ is a beautifully complex record, lyrically and musically, which has the presence to be listened to time and time again. The only criticism one might venture is that the way the tracks build is similar. However the result is so complicated and entwined and revels in the pure joy of its creation that criticising this formula feels like criticising DNA or the Fibonacci sequence. Highly recommended.
‘Till It’s All Forgotten’ is out now via Full Time Hobby.