One of the hottest songs of the season was composed entirely on BLOCKS and the Seaboard RISE. “No Refuge” was created by Marco and Jack Parisi, the Italian electronic duo that have made BLOCKS and Seaboards the centerpieces of their musical process. Known as PARISI, the duo invited hip-hop legend RZA of Wu-Tang Clan to write vocals that are powerful as the pulsating electronic track.

“I don’t understand how you can ban a man from a land that was said to be a beacon of light,” raps RZA in “No Refuge,” which premiered on Beats1. The song and its music video draw attention to the worldwide refugee crisis, questioning policies that would bar immigrants from war-ravaged countries at a time when they seek refuge in greater numbers than ever before.

PARISI and RZA are donating all streams and sales of “No Refuge” to the UNHCR — the United Nations Refugee Agency — to help refugee families settle far from their homes. Every time you listen to the song on Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, and other music platforms, you’re donating to the UNHCR. That’s one more reason to listen to “No Refuge” on repeat!

The song evolved as the Parisi brothers — who grew up in a musical family in southern Italy — searched for the sound that would define them as performers. “We were experimenting with all kinds of sounds and new technologies and trying to find our musical identity,” said Marco Parisi. “Jack and I come from an acoustic background, but now we work with electronic instruments like Seaboard RISE and BLOCKS. We wanted to translate the organic feeling of acoustic sound to electronic music.”

“One day it all came together on this track,” he said. “Everything was spontaneous. We played around with sounds that reminded us of a human voice — almost like a question and answer — and that became the lead of the song that’s now ‘No Refuge.’ We came out of this process with a clearer understanding of our sonic identity. We also came out of it with an understanding of what we were trying to say with ‘No Refuge’ — which is a reflection of our feelings.”

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In crafting the song’s message about refugees, the Parisi brothers drew on personal experience. “Italy has been at the front lines of the European refugee crisis,” Marco said. “Every year especially in the summer, refugees from the Middle East and north Africa cross the Mediterranean and land in southern Italy not far from our home town. As a country and as a family, we do our best to help everybody. But it becomes more difficult every day to manage the situation. Refugees need support from people like us and from institutions. That’s why we’re donating everything to the UNHCR.”

RZA, who has collaborated with PARISI a few times, got the vibe of the song and wrote vocals based on it. “RZA is a legend for us,” Marco said, while Jack added that he has loved the Wu-Tang sound since he heard it for the first time. “During one of our recent sets together RZA listened to this track and said: ‘There’s more here than what you think.’ He understood what we were saying without us needing to explain too much. He understood the ‘new blues’ feeling of the song and how it resonated with the theme of refugees, oppressed people. That’s the magic of collaboration.”

“No Refuge” premiered on the Zane Lowe show of Beats1 and is now available on all music-streaming platforms. It is the first release on ROLI Records, a new label that is producing bold, innovative electronic music.

Learn more about PARISI here, or find them on their Facebook. Featuring many tracks made with BLOCKS, the Seaboard RISE, and Equator, their first album is coming out later this year.

Photography credits
PARISI: Diana Gomez.