With lushly exquisite vocals that cannot be tied to the usual woman vocalist stock suspects all critics lean on in their descriptors and spectacular complex arrangements, Farao, the musical nom de plume of Kari Jahnsen, has arrived seemingly fully formed for our listening enjoyment. Her voice is capable of an incredible range of elements, taking on a languid, sensual tone even when the songs are danceable. She also handles many instruments, including guitar, keys and a diverse range of electronics.
A seamless melding the hypnotic with the familiar takes her songs in interesting places. One such track is “The Hours”, possibly the most popular songs from this native Norwegian living in Berlin. This song juggles ethereal overtones with surprisingly hard hitting lyrics.
Give me what you are aching for
But all I wanted was to close the door and throw your key away
But the hours they glide away and the end of time is only far away
The video, shot in England, Norway, and Iceland, rolls on like a short film, packed with impressionistic swirls and the type of myth-making imagery that seems ripe for obsession of the fan fiction variety. She glides backwards, thick milk-chocolate waves of locks framing her pale face. The wind picks up. A fierce Nordic gaze stares down the elements as she moves from one beautiful but harsh location to another: the grimy grey scotch mist backstreets of London, fjords in Norway rarely seen in music beyond black metal videos, Icelandic lava netherworlds. The song is similarly slippery and sweeping, with an arrangement that leans heavily on electronica and the tingling of what sounds lie a time-release cymbal. The drums have an effect as if they’re marching backwards, sucked into a lushly gorgeous vacuum of sorts, and Farao’s vocals swoon and sway in a way that makes clear she’s happily down with tumbling backward along with everything else. A collision of cosmopolitan sophistication and olde world pagan ways, world weary but youthful, Faroa is a cut above.
“The Hours” came out in 2015 and is from the album Till It’s All Forgotten. Also check out 2018’s exquisite Pure-O. Plus another album is tentatively slated for this year.