The Mars Volta - Frances The Mute

The Mars Volta - Frances The Mute

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Release Date 17/12/2021
Format 3LP Red Vinyl
Label Clouds Hill
Catalogue Number 4250795604921

Indeed, the lush sound of the album, the depth of detail and breadth of instrumentation, belies its grungy roots. Having tasted the luxury of Rick Rubin’s mansion, Omar veered in the opposite direction when recording Frances, cutting the album in what he describes as “a shithole... Basically a warehouse with one little air conditioner on its last legs, awful wiring and a console you couldn’t rely on. We were there night and day – I would literally lock engineer Jon DeBaun in there. He slept on a mattress in the vocal booth.” A considerably more complex and ambitious album than its predecessor – four of its five tracks lasted over ten minutes in length, with its closing epic Cassandra Gemini spanning over half an hour – Frances The Mute wasn’t recorded “live” by an ensemble, but with the individual musicians coming into the “shithole” and recording the parts Omar had scripted for them separately. “They had to have absolute trust in me,” Omar remembers, “Like actors trust their director.” In addition to the core band – now fleshed out with incoming bassist Juan Alderete, and Omar’s brother Marcel on keyboards and percussion – the album featured guitar solos from John Frusciante, saxophone and flute by future member Adrian Terrazas-Gonzales, a full string section, and piano played by Omar’s hero, salsa legend Larry Harlow. “It was a childhood dream come true,” Omar says. “We recorded with him in my hometown in Puerto Rico, and my father flew in to watch the session. Larry was a perfect gentleman, and a very lively spirit.”


1. Cygnus....Vismund Cygnus
2. The Widow
3. L' Via L' Viaquez
4. Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore
5. Cassandra Gemini
6. Tarantism