Welcome Crummy Mystics
CST023 LP • CD • DL
Release date: 03 March 2003
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 A Silver Mt. Zion yielded a set of string and digital arrangements (some of which are documented on 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 Nadia Moss (piano, keyboards, backing vocals) 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 department, so if you enjoy language, give these a close listen. A very fine and complex collection of poetic music.
LP is pressed on 180g audiophile vinyl and comes in a thick printed jacket with artwork insert.
CD comes in a custom paperboard mini-gatefold jacket with a printed CD dust sleeve.
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: 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 at Grey Market in Montreal by Harris Newman.