Produced over two years, Piers Faccini's seventh album, Shapes of the Fall, represents a turning point on his path which, step by step, brings him closer to the plural essence of his songwriting. Orchestrating deep exchanges between folk songs, gnawa pulsations and string quartet, he refines a craft that draws as much from the Anglo-American heritage and traditions of the Mediterranean, the Maghreb and West Africa as from the ancient or baroque music. It is also a major milestone in this rich dialogue between the private and the universal, which Piers Faccini likes to compose. The title says it all as it evokes the image of downfall and of autumn: Shapes of the Fall takes a look at our collapsing world, through the eyes of a man who has just turned 50. A creation infused with a certain seriousness but crossed by first class lucid souls that “emit or reflect light”.

The album opens with They Will Gather no Seed, a stark song about the depletion of our planet's resources, the rupture between man and the earth and the feeling of loss and waste. A distraught lament which finishes by rising up, slowly heating up, invites a spark of hope. “It's this lament that opens up to the range of the story," explains Piers Faccini. "We look our despair in the face, helping us to wonder what energy we should draw from it. The answer will come through dancing. The two main forms of traditional music are those that make you cry, and those that make you dance. Between the two, a balance is created: this is what makes us alive and sane.” This balance is also where different musical styles meet, which places Piers Faccini in another underground and transversal history of songwriting. “I am obsessed with a certain sense of purity, especially in traditional music - tarantella, Gnawa, Reunion Island Maloya… To link songwriting to something so historic and broad, is to remember that its history does not begin with Bob Dylan or Nick Drake. ”

In Shapes of the Fall, these spatio-temporal bridges are carefully weighed and thought out. From Berber (Firefly) to folk meditations (Together Forever Everywhere, The Real Way Out and The Longest Night), from desert blues in tarantella attire (Lay Low to Lie) to the call and response of All Aboard, crossing the voices of the Moroccan maâlem Abdelkebir Merchane and the American Ben Harper, there reigns a kind of spirit of harmony, transcended by the polyglot Piers Faccini's use of the English language. “This time around, I decided to use English from start to finish. What happens when he has music from the Maghreb or the Mediterranean as dance partners? It takes time to test his flexibility, to understand where to put his feet and the words. It’s the result of my work since my first song, written at the age of 13. ”

Piers Faccini also animates this quest with his taste for encounters. In Shapes of the Fall, he leans on four precious travelling companions: Malik Ziad (oud, guembri, guitar, mandole), partner since the album I Dreamed an Island (2016) and leading expert in Gnawa and Maghreb music; his brother Karim Ziad, another virtuoso scholar who brings his eclectic and percussion-filled science; Luc Suarez, an old acquaintance (he was Charley Marlowe's guitarist, Piers' first group), composer of tailor-made arrangements for quartets; and finally the director and sound engineer Fred Soulard, champion of live recording who provided a raw treatment, without unnecessary varnish, that this collection of songs called for.

To understand the creative and liberating process that plays out in Shapes of the Fall, let's see how it ends: Epilogue is a cover of They Will Gather no Seed, where the light breath of vocalisations and strings replaces the salty tears and the initial bitterness of the words. A cycle has come full circle, a loop is closing, a luminous transformation has taken place. A circular figure - or rather spiral as it remains open - that Piers Faccini knows all too well, since he has been exploring it since the beginnings of his solo journey, 17 years ago. Through it his art flourishes, examining the world in itself, and its own place in the world.

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