Till It's All Forgotten

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On her full-length debut, Norway's Farao (singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Kari Jahnsen) crinkles up the hypnotic electro-acoustic soundscape of her self-titled EP into a pulsing, crunchier version of itself. Till It's All Forgotten opens with a bang as syncopated drums and handclaps carve the irregular-metered "TIAF" along with a rhythmic, single-note guitar line and piercing keyboard tones. The instruments and effects only build and wind from there, launching the album into orbit. The remainder continues in kind, dense and driving, with a broad and often unidentifiable instrument palette. Jahnsen's imperfect, milkshake-thick voice adds another layer of frizz to her uncommon sound sculptures. The striking "Feel" covers timbres from low brass to vibraphone to radio wave effects, just in case there was any doubt of her commitment to explore. Less obtrusively, electronic bleeps and bloops are blended with piano and what sounds like plucked and dampened acoustic guitar or piano strings, underscoring the tender "Fragments." The sparser "Maze," a piano-led piece with most of its experimentation in effects-propelled, far-reaching vocals, gathers instruments as it progresses but remains a place where the album catches its figurative breath. The album ends as it begins, with solo percussion, on "Are You Real?," and while percussion is just one of many pieces in the Farao 3-D puzzle, rhythm and attack are as sound-defining here as ethereal quality and mass. It's an impressive and formidable debut, one that begs for analogies to the glaciers, jagged landscapes, and northern lights of her native country.

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