Words by Tim Woodall
Vincent Segal is a cellist who had a hit five years ago with Chamber Music, his beautiful, understated duo collaboration with kora star Ballaké Sissoko. Singer-songwriter and guitarist Piers Faccini has worked with both artists and now, with Segal, he has created an equally understated and beautiful record. Songs of Time Lost alludes to memories of a friendship that dates back to the 80s and, musically, the album’s only theme is the shared inspirations of both men. There are touches of Americana – country music and New Orleans – and European ballads in several languages. One strand of influence is music from Naples, to which Faccini is connected, via his wife.
The album opens with a medieval Neapolitan lament, on which Segal’s pizzicato work underpins Faccini’s mournful singing. Also featured are ‘Cammina Cammina’, on which Faccini croons duskily, and the classic ‘Cicerenella’. There are original tunes too, including ‘A Half of Me’, on which Faccini uncannily channels Nick Drake, both musically and vocally. The volume barely rises above sotto voce but there is character, nuance and symbiotic musicianship in abundance throughout. Faccini, who is also a visual artist, contributed the elegant artwork that wraps together this carefully conceived and considered album.
This album was one of Songlines’ Best Albums of 2014.