Lo-Fi Wonder: Jonathan Franco – “18A”

Jonathan Franco’

“18A”

Swimming Alone Around The Room

I love Jonathan Franco’s matter-of-fact vocals, whether they are the low, hang-over induced as on “18A” or the wispy falsetto that he achieves on other tracks on the album. Franco, coming from Detroit, makes his lo-fi music basically on his own, with help from some of his friends.  In fact, Franco plays guitars, drums, bass, synthesizers, pianos, lap steel, organs, bells, percussion, field recordings, programming, mellotron, drones, noise, samples, natural objects, bowed lap harp, while Nick Kay plays guitars, bass, organs, bells, percussion, field recordings, programming, mellotron, drones, noise, samples, natural objects, toy glockenspiel; Joe Giese plays (if you can call it that) natural objects, noise, programming, voicemail; Nicholas Cole-Klaes, trumpet; Jake Donia, cello; Jackleen Diana Eve, voicemail; and Chelsey Reagan Knapp, voicemail. With this beautiful mix, he truly underlies the subjects in his songs which include two types of songs:

personal: existential anxiety, falling out from his Roman Catholic upbringing, a childhood ghost encounter / fever hallucination, long-distance relationships… Other times, the songs are less straightforward: garbled and surreal vignettes or singing from the point of view of characters other than himself. Some of the sonic textures aimed to evoke the moods of certain pieces of visual art.

He reminds me of Neutral Milk Hotel.  I tell you, this is one album you will listen to over and over, just to get your head about all the instruments and sound effects and how wonderfully they uphold the main story of the individual song.  Amazing record.

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