The music of Norwegian singer and multi-instrumentalist Farao (née Kari Jahnsen) is built on rhythmic intricacy. Grooves drift in and out of songs, unspooling underneath meticulously arranged instrumentation to create music that's at turns heavenly and haunting.
"It was late that night when we first felt the weight of the beat," Jahnsen sings on "Warrior," one of the tracks on her debut full-length album Till It's All Forgotten. The beat, for Farao, isn't a climactic moment that's withheld and dropped at an opportune time — it's the foundation upon which she builds complex arrangements of strings, horns, and synthesizers into something that becomes more than the sum of its parts.
Farao spoke to The Week via email about what bands she listened to in high school, and what song makes her want to break out the air drums. Below, six of her favorite songs with awesome drum grooves:
1. Dirty Projectors, "Maybe That Was It"
"Perhaps my favorite groove ever. I still can't figure it out. It teases me with some kind of regularity but I can never find it. I love the part when it goes to the hi-hat and everything is super tight before it falls apart again. The way Dirty Projectors play around with percussion has inspired me a lot."
2. Blood Orange, "Chosen"
"This groove is like a cooler version of the beat in Rihanna's 'Umbrella.' The track is covered in washy saxophones and that groove just makes me want to air drum so bad. Plus, that single slap bass note is killer. I wish I could steal that exact drum beat and write my own song with it."
3. The Sahara All Stars of Jos, "Take Your Soul"
"I'm a big fan of Nigerian Afrobeat and disco funk, and I found this track on a compilation called The Sound Of The Underground Lagos Dancefloor 1974-79. It sounds like the drummer is having the time of his life playing this beat, especially towards the end. That kind of energy is very contagious."
4. Poliça, "Amongster"
"The first thing that caught my attention with this band are the drums. Hi-hat build ups resulting in a chaos of two drummers trying to outdo each other towards the end. I love the combination of acoustic drums and heavily processed, electronic arrangements, which inspired me to have a similar organic/synthetic mix on my album."
5. PJ Harvey and John Parish, "April"
"The simplest, most perfect groove to accompany one of the simplest, most perfect organ parts I've ever heard."
6. Mars Volta, "Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)"
"Oh, Mars Volta. They were my favorite band for ages in high school. Me and my friends went to All Tomorrow's Parties curated by them as soon as we turned 18 and had the best time. I would describe this song as drums on speed, and it continues to amaze me 10 years after I heard it for the first time."
Till It's All Forgotten is out now on Arts & Crafts.
(This interview was condensed and edited by Samantha Rollins.)
Watch the video for "Hunter" by Farao:
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