Base in Italy, musician, poet, and producer FAREES recently released a new album, Border Patrol, a 17-track collection of blues, spoken word, alt-rock, and African music.
Talking about ‘Border Patrol’s’ themes, both personal and political, FAREES shares, “This is my musical manifesto. We are fed up with the rhetoric of racism – Muslims are terrorists, blacks are criminals, natives are savages…etc. My message is clear: watch out because we are dehumanizing ourselves, all of us. Racism and this whole colonialist mentality, it dehumanizes both the victim and the perpetrator. We are destroying our humanity.”
He goes on to add, “There’s a lot of my personal philosophy and experience in this record. It’s a very personal record in a sense, but a very collective one too. I recorded it in 2018, and I, unfortunately, anticipated a lot of bad things that were about to happen in our societies. This record is my testimony and my statement, I hope you enjoy it with both your ears and your hearts.”
FAREES started his musical journey in Africa, playing in bands such as Tinariwen and Terakaft, immersing himself in the Saharan scene. His debut release, Mississippi To Sahara, was recorded in two days and made a big impact, leading performances on the world’s major stages.
From a multi-racial background, FAREES’ view of the world is expansive and unbiased. Still, even though he was aware of racial profiling, he hadn’t really experienced it until, while playing in Chicago, he was profiled, arrested, detained, and considered a possible terrorist. After returning to Italy, the police there detained him upon arrival. Later, while on tour in Canada, he received threats on his life, along with racial slurs.
The result of all this prejudice was new songs, significant lyrics, and increased activism on his part, culminating in his concept album, Border Patrol.
Entry points on the album include “I’m Privileged,” a psychedelic bluesy number with spoken-word lyrics narrating his confrontations with intolerance. “Empire Man” rides dirty, gritty guitars reminiscent of Dire Straits, only infused with world-music savors.
“Independence” blends lysergic guitars, murky and fuzzed-out with defiant exotic tones indicative of garage-rock-grunge. Whereas “I’m A Demon” merges twangy country-flavored guitars with tropical flavors, while FAREES speaks atop the tune in deep tones.
“Split Second,” a favorite track on the album, reveals undulating rhythmic pulses as platinum, almost jangly, guitars imbue the harmonics with sheens of sparkling colors. The flow of this track is hypnotic and conjures up vague memories of Tom Petty.
At once innovative, blues-flavored, and rife with opulent sonic hues, the music of FAREES defies description, yet is alluringly mesmerizing.