We’re pleased to bring you the premiere of Jonathan Franco’s new song “Transition Lens” (listen below). The track is taken from the his upcoming album Swimming Alone Around The Room, which is scheduled to be self-released on November 9, 2018. You can pre-order the album here.
‘Transition Lens’ was based on a demo that my friend and collaborator Nick K sent me. It had a slower, really dreamy laid back vibe, with jangly clean guitars and a drum machine. We ended up deconstructing the entire track and rebuilding it in one long session with an old pump organ Nick had in his basement, more driving real drums, and a lot of tape distortion. Then I took the track home and rearranged the layout a bit, added some layers of field recordings, and wrote a new melody and lyrics really quickly.
It feels really nostalgic to me. Visceral memories. That warm feeling your body has when it’s 7 am and you haven’t slept. It’s still dark out, but everything has this sort of surreal glow. Everything sounds echoey and distorted. Calm and unsettled at the same time. Body heat.
My girlfriend and I are long distance. The moments when we can be alone together are really valuable and even the small mundane details leave lasting impressions. I wanted to capture all of that as much as I could between the lyrics and textures.
About the artist:
Detroit-based musician, Jonathan Franco spent four years writing and recording his debut solo album, Swimming Alone Around the Room. Starting essentially from scratch after discarding his previous recordings, each song was meticulously arranged through obsessive experimentation with manipulating sounds and instruments, as well as gathering field recordings around Detroit and New York. Franco pulls inspiration from indie rock forbearers like Mount Eerie, The Silver Jews, Yo La Tengo, Bedhead, and Sparklehorse and mixes it with influences from composers and sound artists like Haruomi Hosono, Elaine Radigue, Jim O’Rourke, and Yoshi Wada. Much of Swimming Alone Around the Room also resulted from the influence of film, with Franco citing directors Shane Carruth and Yorgos Lanthimos as having made an impact.
Writing and recording mostly on his own and with close friends, Franco’s goal was to translate his thoughts and experiences — whether life-changing or mundane — into sounds and lyrics. Some themes are 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.
The result is a collection that translates best as one complete work – the instrumental tracks, fragments, and sound collages having as much purpose as the lyric-driven songs. Rather than staying in one sonic place over the course of the album, Franco lightly genre-hops, serving the song and idea over chasing a premeditated “sound.” His voice moves between a low, hungover talk-sing to a wavering falsetto depending on the song’s mood or narrator. The album crackles with a loose, lo-fi sound, favoring feeling and energy over glossy perfection. Since completing the record Franco has shifted his focus to putting together a band to perform these songs in a live setting. He is currently living, writing, recording, and performing in Detroit.
10/29 – Detroit, MI – Deluxx Flux w/ Quiltboy and The Goon Sax (Australia)
11/02 – Hamtramck, MI – Outer Limits Lounge w/ Dehd (Chicago), Smile, XV, and DJ Chris Calandro