Till Itís All Forgotten

Farao

Arts & Crafts, 2015

http://www.farao.co.uk

REVIEW BY: Ludwik Wodka

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/09/2015

Hailing from the small town of Ulnes, Norway, Kari Jahnsen – adapting the moniker of Farao – brings us her debut album Till It’s All Forgotten. Full of complex rhythms and layered arrangements, the songs coalesce into a coherent and fully realized artistic statement. Farao combines a diverse array of instrumentation that combines layered, multi-tracked vocals with electronica alongside more traditional instruments, which are brought to life with her very distinctive melodic style. Similar to her fellow Scandinavian artists such as Sóley and Lykke Li, Farao has a tendency to steep her vocals in reverb and choral multi-tracking. This often gives the melody an ethereal quality and a more melancholic and pensive feel. However, unlike her peers, Farao draws upon more diverse and eclectic sources for her sound. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Opening with her title track, each layer of the arrangement is introduced in sequence: first the drums, followed by a single guitar line, then the synthesizers, and finally vocals. The unconventional rhythmic patterns propel the song forward, adding further complexity to the swirl of sounds and melody. Other highlights on the album include the brooding melody of “Bodies,” the off-kilter piano phrasing of “Maze,” and the hypnotic “Fragments.” The finest moment on the album comes on the closing track, the beautiful “Are You Real?,” which builds up from a simple, but catchy melody into dreamy and soaring arrangement that combines reverbed vocals with a horn section for a dramatic finale.

Never content with straight 4/4 time or with more conventional arrangements, the complexity often works like a spell that yields its beauty like some strange magic. This magic, however, works much better on some tracks than others, making the album a somewhat uneven experience. In spite of the complexity, Farao has the good sense to build her songs around strong and accessible melodies. While I found myself skipping around between songs after a while, it nonetheless still works and satisfies as an album, with its better qualities outweighing the lesser.

Rating: B

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