Welcome Crummy Mystics
CST023      CD LP MP3 FLAC

“Even with full group backing on the jazz swing of "Hospitalville", Frankie Sparo's songs are all encompassing in their intimacy… Listening to the record is like dropping in on a private reverie…”
The Wire

“This is a small capsule of brilliance... There is a fair bit of gloom and restlessness on ‘Welcome Crummy Mystics,’ but there is vague hope as well and an unerring ambition that holds together all the disparate ideas: the lo-fi and the cinematic, the dreamy and the earthbound.”
Careless Talk Costs Lives

“[Y]ou the listener will find yourself wandering through a world of haunting melodies, lamenting cries…and some of the most well-crafted music you will have had the privilege to experience... ‘Welcome Crummy Mystics’ is an album for those who look to music for poignant moments of beauty and occasional flashes of despair.”
Deep Fry Bonanza

“Sparo's vocals are slightly louder than a breath and have a charming way of slightly walking around the key of the songs. The instrumentation is extremely choice, often spare but full of chatter, never feeling arbitrary, nor too mannered.”

“Much of ‘Welcome…’ weaves around off-kilter, from humbled to hurt, distraught to indignant. Intriguing.”

“Full and flowing landscapes of sounds are played along by way of strings, trumpets, electronic ambience and the sorrowful vocals of this man's songs.”
My Red ScareFrankie Sparo   CD / LP / DL
Arena Hostile
(VPRO Radio Recordings)
Frankie Sparo   CDEP / DL
North Star DeserterVic Chesnutt   CD / 2x180gLP / DL
Tiny MirrorsSandro Perri   CD / 180gLP / DL
Sloppy GroundEric Chenaux   CD / 180gLP / DL
At The CutVic Chesnutt   CD / 180gLP / DL

Frankie Sparo’s third release is a little masterpiece of highly original, stylistically diverse songwriting. Sparo’s debut record, My Red Scare was comprised mostly of songs played solo, unadorned, wrought only from guitar, voice and beatbox. The two years between saw forays into broader instrumentation and collaborations with additional players. A tour with Silver Mt. Zion yielded a set of string and digital arrangements (some of which are documented on a 2001 EP Arena Hostile) and many of these same players contributed to the songs on Welcome Crummy Mystics. Meanwhile, an official second member in the person of N. Moss (piano, keyboards, backing vox) joined the fray and her playing, singing and arranging can be heard throughout this record.

Sparo’s inimitable intimacy is well-preserved on several of these tracks; the fragility of guitar paired with Moss’ piano/organ can be heard to great effect on “Bright Angel Park” and “This Lie”. With an additional element – bass in “My Sistr”, digital treatments in “Camera” – the carefully expanded palettes play with countervailing forms: modern jazz ballad and naive music-box lullaby. But Sparo also assembled larger ad hoc bands for various set pieces on the album. Album opener “Hospitalville” is a fluid, slow-burning swing complete with drums, bass and trumpets – a brilliant arrangement set pumping by Efrim’s heavy compression treatment (he recorded the album at the original Hotel2Tango). A men’s choir later makes a brief appearance, as do some digital de/reconstructions, on the record’s two rock songs, “Akzidenz Grotesk” and “Back on Speed”. Sparo can always be counted on for top-notch reflection and erudition in the lyrics dept., so if you enjoy language, give these a close listen. A very fine and complex collection of poetic music.

Release date: 3 March 2003
Running time: 37:00

Packaging notes
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1. Hospitalville
2. Sleds To Moderne
3. Akzidenz Grotesk
4. Back On Speed
5. My Sistr
6. Camera
7. City As Might Have Been
8. This Lie

Chad Jones: guitar, percussion, electric beats, bass, voice
Nadia Moss: piano, keyboard machines, cymbalom, voice

Thierry Amar: contrabass; man-choir on TRACK 4
Will Eizlini: tablas
Jonah Fortune: drums, trumpet on TRACK 1
Ian Ilavsky: digital editing and arranging; drums on TRACK 3; man-choir on TRACK 4
Jessica Moss: violin, la-la
Seth W. Owen: man-choir on TRACK 4
Roger Tellier-Craig: treated guitar on TRACK 2
Sophie Trudeau: violin

Recorded and mixed at the Hotel2Tango in Montreal by Efrim, 2001-2002. Digital editing and arranging at Ian’s home in Montreal. Mastered by Harris Newman.