|Piers Faccini — Between Dogs & Wolves (2013)|
Piers Faccini — Between Dogs & Wolves
↓ Singer/songwriter with a soulful voice and a varied stylistic approach (folk, acoustic blues, West African music).
↓ Piers Faccini was born in London, England to an Italian father and an English mother. His family moved to France when he was five years old.
Born: 1970 in London, England
Location: Paris, France
Album release: September 10, 2013
Record Label: Beating Drum, Tot ou Tard, Six Degrees
01. Black Rose (3:03)
02. Broken Mirror (3:01)
03. Missing Words (3:06)
04. Feather Light (3:18)
05. Wide Shut Eyes (3:16)
06. Reste la marée (3:34)
07. Pieces Of Ourselves (5:10)
08. Girl In The Corner (4:10)
09. Il Cammino (3:56)
10. Like Water Like Stone (3:21)
≡ Jules Bikioko Double Bass, Vocals (Background)
≡ Rodrigo D'Erasmo Violin
≡ Dom La Nena Cello, Vocals (Background)
≡ Piers Faccini Artwork, Balafon, Composer, Dulcimer, Engineer, Erhu, Guitar (Acoustic), Harmonium, Kora, Marimba, Mixing, Piano, Primary Artist, Producer, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
≡ François Fanelli Mastering
≡ Patrick Jauneaud Mixing
≡ Anaïs Ledoux Executive Producer
≡ Uncle O Design
Album Moods: Earthy Organic Amiable/Good-Natured Autumnal Bittersweet Bright Fun Laid-Back/Mellow Melancholy Passionate Poignant Reflective Springlike Uplifting Calm/Peaceful Ramshackle Sentimental Somber Wistful Earnest Intimate Plaintive Precious Restrained Sad Soothing Brooding Cathartic Delicate Gentle Literate
Themes: Introspection Rainy Day Solitude Affection/Fondness Affirmation Empowering Heartache Long Walk Motivation Passion Reflection Relationships Religion
Review by James Christopher Monger; Score: ***½
≡ If it weren't for the high fidelity, Between Dogs and Wolves, the fifth long-player from British-born singer/songwriter Piers Faccini, could easily be mistaken for a late-'60s/early-'70s Harvest Records release, appearing in a display case next to Shirley & Dolly Collins' Anthems in Eden or Roy Harper's Stormcock. Richly detailed yet tastefully delivered ballads like "Black Rose," "Like Water Like Stone," and "Broken Mirror" resonate in a similar way to classic folk offerings from Nick Drake, Martin Carthy, and John Renbourn. Like his closest contemporary, survival skills-instructor-turned modern British folk emancipator Sam Lee, Faccini uses the genre as a foundation to explore other styles, most notably on songs like the jazz-tinged "Pieces of Ourselves" and the breezy "Il Cammino," the latter of which pays homage to his Italian heritage. Elsewhere, he mines familiar themes like love and loss through an enigmatic musical prism that runs the gamut from deeply melancholic ("Feather Light" and "Girl in the Corner") to hesitantly hopeful ("Wide Shut Eyes" and "Missing Words"), all the while maintaining a stately singer/songwriter vibe that feels both authentic and refined. Between Dogs and Wolves is a quiet record filled with big emotions, but it requires the listener's complete attention, and even then it can be elusive. That said, it all goes down like the smoothest of drams, and between Faccini's smoky, Leonard Cohen-meets-Steve Kilbey (The Church) cadence, his finger-picking acumen, and deeply felt, yet measured and simplistic lyrics, it's hard to resist the urge to go back for seconds.
≡ "Les quatre albums précédents de l'Anglo- Italien des Cévennes portaient des titres affichant tour à tour l'imperceptible (Leave no trace, Two Grains of sand) et le panoramique (Tearing Sky, My wilderness). Sans d'ailleurs que leur contenu se ressente, à l'oreille nue, d'un tel écart. Piers Faccini est ce genre d'artiste complet (il peint aussi) que protège l'ascèse tranquille d'un artisan: remettre chaque fois sur le métier le même ouvrage. Répéter mieux, si possible. On finissait par prêter plus d'attention aux nuances d'un disque à l'autre, en dépit de la réelle singularité du musicien. Le parti pris de discrétion, confinant à la transparence, laissait dès l'abord voir un style : un pas oscillant sur des vieux chemins balisés (folk, blues...), réglant sa boussole sur une cartographie rêvée (Mississippi, Mali, Highlands...).
≡ Plusieurs voyages après, ce style a son plus parfait manifeste avec Between dogs and wolves. Cet entre-deux est au plus près d'un entre-soi. L'introspection domine, le murmure insiste. La patine simplement donnée par la voix douce et quelques instruments d'appoint à cordes ou claviers (presque tous joués par Piers Faccini lui-même) rend suave la haine ou rêche l'amour. « J'étais une peau pour tes épines », chante-t-il à sa Black Rose.
≡ Un fluide court d'une pièce à l'autre, un fil rouge, un nerf pour l'auditeur, et cet album de recueillement devient le plus ouvert de tous, celui qui pousse au partage. Un air en italien (Il Cammino), un autre en français viennent avec un naturel imprévu. Placé au milieu, Reste la marée cristallise, dans une langue apprise et domptée, la puissance diabolique de cette musique aux ailes duveteuses : elle se révèle et se voile en un mouvement perpétuellement contradictoire, plage de galets lavée par la marée sous un ciel cruel et magnanime. (source: www.telerama.fr)
≡ Aussi superbe que les précédents! Vivement recommandé.
Artist Biography by Mark Deming
≡ Leave No Trace A soulful and expressive singer/songwriter whose music fuses folk, acoustic blues, and West African textures, Piers Faccini was born in England to Anglo-Italian parents, and moved with his family to France when he was five years old. A graduate of the prestigious King's College of Our Lade of Eton, in 1997 Faccini began making a name for himself on the London music scene with the group Charley Marlowe, which featured Faccini, spoken word artist Francesca Beard, guitarist Lucas Suarez, and percussionist Frank Byng. While Charley Marlowe earned a passionate following on London's acoustic music circuit for their unique blend of poetry and music, Faccini, who had been writing scores for British television on the side, felt constrained by their approach and left the band in 2001 to write and perform on his own. In 2004, he released his first solo album, Leave No Trace, through the French Bleu Electric label and toured extensively following its release. Faccini signed an American record deal with the Everloving Records label and played a number of shows in Europe with like-minded U.S. musicians Ben Harper and Jack Johnson. J.P. Plunier, who had produced sessions for both Harper and Johnson, signed on to produce Faccini's second full-length album, 2006's Tearing Sky, which featured backing vocals from Harper and accompaniment from several members of his band the Innocent Criminals. Two Grains of Sand arrived in 2009, followed by My Wilderness in 2011, and Between Dogs and Wolves in 2013, the latter of which arrived via his own Beating Drum label. When not busy with his musical career, Faccini is also a visual artist who has exhibited his paintings of landscapes and portraits. (http://www.allmusic.com/)
≡ This could be you (2000 — Charley Marlowe)
≡ Leave no trace (2004)
≡ The Streets of London (2005)
≡ Tearing Sky (2006)
≡ Two Grains of Sand (2009)
≡ My Wilderness (2011)
≡ Between Dog and Wolves (2013)
≡ And there’s also Songs I Love, a project that “began as a way to interact with fans on a level that wasn’t reliant on an album release,” he says. “I would give away a song every couple of months on my website: covers of songs that I loved that I would record and arrange in my own style. It was a way for me to be a fan, just like the fans that follow me. Recording the songs and playing with their arrangements was a way for me to celebrate the wonderful artists and traditions that have fed me over the years.” ≡ Faccini will be releasing the Songs I Love project in a book accompanied by a CD; the book features an original portrait drawing of each artist by Faccini and words about each song chosen.
≡ At the moment though, it’s the new album that best reflects his present artistic state of mind. “Between Dogs and Wolves weaves a story of a journey of emancipation from the first song to the last,” Faccini says. “To describe an album as 10 love songs can be so incredibly boring or cliché, but of course it’s not the subject of a song that makes it interesting but how it’s said, how it’s written. How do you show the difference between a love song by Leonard Cohen and a non-professional teenage musician? You need to hear it to know the difference!”
≡ The difference becomes apparent from the lead track on Between Dogs and Wolves, “Black Rose.” The song, says Faccini, “is key for me. I haven’t written about lost love for a long time. There’s often a kind of soft melancholy in my music but somehow it doesn’t deal in regret; despite the melancholy there’s a peace there somehow. With ‘Black Rose’ I wanted to tackle something more thorny and unfinished. The song is about a very painful and physical need to be with someone. It’s about an unrequited burning desire. ‘I was the skin for your thorns, the pale light for your bloom.’”
≡ Each track on the album captures a different take around the theme of love and relationships. In “Broken Mirror,” says Faccini, “I stay on the theme of separation and longing. It’s about seeing oneself in multiple fragments of a broken mirror. It’s about looking and not being clear about what you see.” The next tune, “Missing Words,” is more about the matrix of language and the frustration of missing the moment when words could have altered the course of a story. “It’s about what happens when something is left unsaid.
≡ As the recording progresses, Faccini subtly introduces new instrumental textures. What begins with naked, unadorned voice and guitar ultimately expands its reach, the additional sounds perfectly complementing the rich poetics of the lyrics. “Feather Light,” says Faccini, was written several years earlier but found its home on Between Dogs and Wolves. “It’s a classic love song that deals with yearning,” he says, “when desire consumes one to the point of drifting away like ash into the breeze.” The next, “Wide Shut Eyes,” he says, ”explores the possibility that there can be resolution to the conflict and separation suggested in the earlier songs, as if redemption and peace were possible.”
≡ “Reste la Maree” came about, Faccini says, several years after he moved to France. “People say I speak French well and asked me why I wouldn’t write a song in French. For years I didn’t want to because I felt like one should master a language before writing with it. I never felt ready somehow. But then I was invited to play in the island of la Reunion, and I did a couple of gigs there, and I learned a song in Creole by the late Alain Peters. That gave me the confidence to write in French because I’m not French, I’m a foreigner living in France, but I wanted ‘Reste la Maree’ to sound like an old traditional song. I wanted the song to have a very ornate, old-fashioned melody that would carry the particular weight of the French language. The song is about the tide that takes you in, the tide that takes you away, the tide that takes you closer to the shore, before sweeping you back out to sea.”
≡ “Pieces of Ourselves” is the longest song on the album, “basically a long poem,” Faccini says. “It’s about the past, about those pieces of ourselves we leave behind, that we try and find, that we go looking for. It’s about memory and the undying nature of love.” It’s followed by “Girl in the Corner,” which Faccini describes as “a love song in the guise of an intimate portrait. I wanted there to be one song with piano on the album,” he says. “The color of the instrument seemed perfect to accompany the more confessional aspect of the lyrics.”
≡ The final two songs on Between Dogs and Wolves are among the most personal and poignant on the record. “I wanted the album to be a mirror of what I am,” says Faccini, explaining why he included “Il Cammino,” sung in Italian. “I am a multi-linguist, and I have a hybrid background; the album is a reflection of my background. This is the first time I’ve written a song in Italian. I’ve tried to do this in a seamless and natural way; my hope is that people almost don’t notice when I’m singing in a different language.”
≡ Finally, there is “Like Water Like Stone,” about “the moment of redemption, about resolution,” Faccini says, “the moment when you see that all you’ve been looking for has been there all along. I describe someone walking on the shore. He picks up a pebble and throws it into the water. Watching the ripples, he has a moment of epiphany. In that moment he comes to terms with everything he’s lived, good or bad. Like the ripples in the water, the circles form and fade over and over. Watching the water he finds resolution to his unfinished stories; the song is his moment of redemption.”
≡ With that last song, the circle closes, and with it Piers Faccini’s most affecting and powerful music to date. Its 10 songs invite multiple plays and with each airing, new and deeper layers are revealed. “The album uncovers moments of transformation within relationships,” he says, “Lovers look for these timeless moments when there is no separation, just the split second shards of timelessness when there is neither one nor the other.”
|Piers Faccini — Between Dogs & Wolves (2013)|