Autumn Falls @ L'Entrepot - Arlon (be)
Le Brass - Brussels (be)
4AD - Diksmuide (be)
Glimps Festival / Bar Des Amis - Gent (be)
Fai Baba’s given name? It doesn’t really matter. What we do know is that he’s an impostor.
“I have many names”, he says with a playful smirk.
One finds oneself wanting to believe anything he says. There’s a dangerous charm that surrounds him.
His new album Sad & Horny sounds like something straight out of LA Psych-Land. And that’s just the record. Onstage, Fai Baba always lets his music take shape spontaneously, according to the situation – either solo, as a duo, or with a band.
And this will occasionally send him off to dizzying heights, with only the cable of the guitar and its need for power and amplification keeping him anchored – not necessarily to the ground, but definitely somewhere within the city. Then again, the music also has a strong Deep South, countryside feel to it. Fai Baba has been at this for a while now. Including Sad & Horny, five albums have been released under his moniker since 2010; first, three releases the artist himself refers to as “weird” (main ingredients: drum loops, cassette recorders, and isolation), then one album recorded with a full band, and now Sad & Horny. The songs took their time to develop, but still sound refreshingly off-the-cuff, and even though they all share the same level of intensity, each one explores an entirely different mood. The very title of the album reflects this, since it offsets brooding, melancholy numbers written by Fai Baba himself against the bulk of the album that follows an altogether different energy.
This isn’t the singer/guitarist’s sole responsibility. The record owes much of its charming and ever-confident pace to the fact that in early 2016, Domi Chansorn was invited on board. With up to thirty gigs a month, he is one of the busiest drummers around, and according to his own statement, he doesn’t play rhythm; he plays music. Maybe that’s why the six songs he co-produced with Fai Baba sound more “horny” than “sad”, giving the album an exciting inner tension. It’s obvious that two soul mates have met here to create rock-solid sounds, but also to let them develop in the moment, keep them flexible, and to understand them as living things that in turn can be influenced by the audience – no matter whether there’s only a guitar on stage, or drums, or even a bass and a piano. Thus, the cover photo shows the two as musical partners: Chansorn with a keen glance, and Fai Baba like a young Chet Baker.
Sad & Horny started out as a planned cooperation with a filmmaker, and the songs drew inspiration from film noir and road movie atmospheres. The film never got made, but the music remains: against a backdrop of drugged-up repetition, reverberating guitars you can almost reach out and touch (Find Me A Woman), and echoes of Jeff Buckley (Nobody But You), it hauntingly floats between Iggy/Bowie and the stylistic single-mindedness of ‘Deer hunter’ (Don’t Belong Here), the driving and progressive dynamics of Klaus Dinger (Can’t Get Over You), and an undeniable touch of the Beatles (Geographical Tongue). All of which makes us eternally grateful that Fai Baba never studied business administration. But it’s the
closing song, Straight Man that leaves us grinning with enthusiasm:
This son of a gun will even turn you on to Chris Isaak!