Arena Hostile (VPRO Radio Recordings)

“[E]motive and brutally raw… There's a sincerity in Sparo's croaky voice that would make even the coldest of hearts feel his pain…sorrowful, yet oddly uplifting folk songs.”
13th Note

“Arena Hostile shapes sadness and loneliness into poignant, aesthetic melodies…subtle and haunting…a uniquely sensual element to aurally explore.”

“[F]ragile, naked, vulnerable and on the edge of crumbling down under its own emotional weight… This is really a class act and a memorable performance, highly recommended for late night listening.”
Musique Machine

“Simply speaking, Frankie Sparo is a master of the reverb-drenched guitar note. Equally as impressive is Sparo's absolute control over your listening experience, as he experiments with patience through each of these pleasantly plodding songs… [E]ach tune will comfort you with its beauty and emotional explosiveness.”

My Red ScareFrankie Sparo   CD / LP / DL
Welcome Crummy MysticsFrankie Sparo   CD / LP / DL

In January 2001, Frankie Sparo toured Europe with a Silver Mt Zion. Musicians from the latter group worked on new arrangements of songs from Sparo’s debut record My Red Scare, adding strings, organ and electronics to Frankie’s guitar and beatbox compositions. Some of the results were captured in a live studio performance recorded live to 2-track at VPRO radio in Amsterdam, where a feverish flu found Sparo in a ravaged, hallucinatory state – which only added to the dark magic of these recordings. The four songs on this EP are all first takes, beautifully recorded by the good people at VPRO. Along with 3 songs reworked from the debut album, the EP also includes a heartbreaking cover of the Rolling Stones’ “I Am Waiting”, which Sparo performed solo a number of times in concert. “Diminish Me NYC” features an off-kilter minimal electronic arrangement with violin drones. “The Night That We Stayed In” is anchored by a walking doublebass line, punctuated by dual violin phrases, turning the song into an even smokier affair. “Here Comes The Future” is propelled by radically reworked drum programming and a lush coda of strings and organ, while the aforementioned cover version finds Mr. Sparo alone with his guitar in a gorgeous interpretation from the Jagger/Richards songbook. Released 10 September 2001 on these here shores, meaning nobody but a lucky few heard it.

Release date: 28 August 2001 (Europe), 10 September 2001 (rest of world)
Running time: 20:00

Packaging notes
CD xxxxxxxxx xxxxx.
LP xxxxxxxxx xxxxx.

1. Diminish Me NYC
2. The Night That We Stayed In
3. Here Comes The Future
4. I Am Waiting

Chad Jones: guitar, voice

Thierry Amar: contrabass
Ian Ilavsky: sampler, organ
Jessica Moss: violin
Sophie Trudeau: violin

Recorded direct to 2-track at VPRO Radio in Amsterdam by Berry Kamer, Jan Hiddink and Maurice Woestenburg, 24 January 2001. Mastered by Harris Newman.