Farai – “Inhale/Exhale”

Posted by on May 10, 2017


There are at least two types of “anthems.” A common one is the anthem of victory: the propaganda piece, the hit that screams catharsis with no strings attached, the stuff that forces you to feel joy as you walk supermarket aisles with your head down. Farai’s “Inhale/Exhale” is a different type: an anthem of persistence. Her label NON describes her as “a Lion Warrior living in and battling life on the streets in the city,” and the track rushes headlong like the fastest walkers, hyperaware of the crowds they navigate, seeking to carve spaces for themselves among the controlled chaos of the city and the power asymmetries roiling within.

Farai gets this view across with two versions of “Inhale/Exhale” that hopped online at about the same time. The first, synced to a video, feels like an update of the focused but moody, lowlit post-punk of ESG. The second, appearing on Farai’s EP Kisswell, ups the ante. It’s monolithic, sharp, relentless, fully awake and in control. When Farai casts her crescendoing shout — “Chase the dragon!” — across producer TØNE’s wind tunnel pulses, she pulls you to a threshold and holds you there before releasing you to the onrush again. This version of “Inhale/Exhale” captures the high-intensity mindset of walking a busy street and sharpens it to a pinpoint, an unbendable vector. In under three minutes, Farai and TØNE distill their energy into a small revelation: an anthem of persistence can contain an incredibly potent kind of victory.

The Kisswell EP is available now as a digital download from NON.