British-Italian artist Piers Faccini today releases a new single, ‘Foghorn Calling’, the latest to arrive from his forthcoming album ‘Shapes Of The Fall’, due for release on April 2, 2021 through Nø Førmat! (Oumou Sangaré, Blick Bassy & Mélissa Laveaux) / Beating Drum. Featuring collaborations with Ben Harper and Abdelkebir Merchane, ‘Shapes Of The Fall’ is Faccini’s seventh album in a career spanning over twenty years and collaborations with the likes of Rokia Traoré, Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Segal. Watch the new animated video for ‘Foghorn Calling’ – created by Piers using charcoal sketches – from here.
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On the percussive ‘Foghorn Calling’ Piers Faccini takes the sounds of these coastal warning sirens to weave a cautionary tale about humanity’s inability to act on the warning sounds of its own potential environmental collapse. Will we heed the foghorn in time and set sail for a brighter future or will mankind’s ship of fools fail on the rocks and be lost to the impending storm? The Gabriel Garcia Marquez 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; will we, as the very old man with broken wings, learn to fly again or are we destined to fall?
One of the hallmarks of Faccini’s unusual songwriting is to create original conversations between different musical languages and traditions. Here a guembri, the unique instrument belonging to the North African Gnawa traditions and played by the Algerian Malik Ziad is the driving force for Faccini’s plaintive voice, creating an unlikely marriage of styles. If ‘Foghorn Calling’ in particular were geographically situated, it would be at a point dropped somewhere between an English moor, a Saharan desert oasis and a Mississippi crossroads.
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.
The songs on ‘Shapes Of The Fall’ – with string quartet arrangements provided by Spanish composer Luc Suarez – are steeped in rhythm, blending Faccini’s custom-made hybrid fretless instrument, the guitar-oud, bender & tamburello frame drums, karkabous castanets and handclaps to compelling effect.
‘Shapes Of The Fall’ is characterised by an elegiac quality – a thoughtful collection of songs with 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?