British-Italian artist Piers Faccini today releases a new animated video – directed by La Blogotheque/Fantômes’s Hugo & Rodolphe Jouxtel – for his state-of-the-nation single ‘All Aboard’. The track – featuring Ben Harper and Abdelkebir Merchane – is the latest to emerge from Faccini’s new album Shapes Of The Fall, which is out now through Nø Førmat! (Oumou Sangaré, Blick Bassy & Mélissa Laveaux) / Beating Drum. The release is Faccini’s seventh album in a career spanning over twenty years, with collaborations alongside the likes of Rokia Traoré, Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Segal. The new video for ‘All Aboard’ is now streaming from here, with Shapes of The Fall streaming in full from here. The third episode of Piers’ ‘Songs Of Earth And Sky’ documentary series also now available here.


With ‘All Aboard’, Faccini makes a striking rallying call for action as the storm of climate disruption and the devastation of the natural world gather pace. The absorbing new animated video crafted by Hugo & Rodolphe Jouxtel – across which they pay tribute to classic French cartoon and comic styles – renders the track’s dystopian latter day take on the biblical flood myth in vivid detail.

Speaking about ‘All Aboard’, Piers says; I imagined a modern day ark, with animals and plants, carrying precious seed and cargo to survive and start a new life. But I also wrote the song as a kind of parody, to highlight the absurdity of humanity’s inaction in the face of impending catastrophe. We’d rather let our home and planet and our very own paradise burn in front of us instead of just getting on board a green new narrative and all aboard a way to avoid that apocalyptic scenario. There’s a 70’s French science fiction cartoon feel to their animation that brings me back to my childhood with references to artists like Moebius, Enki Bilal or Philippe Druillet. The beautiful and evocative landscapes were drawn by Audrey Jouve.

The song itself features Faccini’s guitar oud, a hybrid fretless instrument and the guembri, a traditional North African instrument (somewhere between a double bass and a fretless guitar) as well as the metal hand percussion, the large metal castanets known as karkabous. The track features two guest appearances; Californian singer-songwriter Ben Harper, a collaborator from his 2005 album, Tearing Sky and Moroccan singer and master of the trance traditions known as Gnawa, Abdelkebir Merchane. “All aboard, pull the oar and row, all aboard to the poles we go” sing Faccini and Harper, while  Merchane’s intervention brings a shift into a major key as he asks the Gnawa saint El Fqih for blessing and healing. 

In this way, ruin or repair and hope or despair are the parallel narratives of Shapes of The Fall; with ‘All Aboard’, it swings back toward light, toward hope. Faccini, having made of his songs over the years a cross cultural dialogue, defies categorisation, somewhere between Folk, songwriting and World Music rhythms. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s story A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings reflects on the opposing facets of human nature, like the two sides of a spinning coin landing randomly either on cruelty or compassion. As a whole, Shapes Of The Fall speaks of something similar – asking, which part of our nature will prevail in the modern world. There’s parallels not only to humans’ destructive effect on the ecosystems of the natural world around us, but also to the internal monologues of our own lives, our own reflections. How have we strung the beads of our lives together? What choices, what actions will determine our rise or fall? Will we, as the old man with broken wings, learn to fly again or are we destined to fall?

Recorded live in a farmhouse studio in the French countryside, co-produced by Fred Soulard – ‘Shapes of the Fall’ draws heavily on Faccini’s own ancestry, on southern Italian, Arab-Andalusian and Sephardic modes and rhythms, bridging southern Europe with the Near East and Africa. Beginning with his fascination with Tarantismofrom Puglia and the last known example of trance ritual and music in Europe, the album crosses the narrow straights of the Mediterranean, accompanied by two Algerian brothers and master instrumentalists, Malik and Karim Ziad, to interplay with trance traditions in the Maghreb and in Berber and Gnawa culture. 

Pre-Order ‘Shapes Of The Fall’ here: