- US press: Sophie Gilchrist at Force Field PR
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.
Swimming Alone Around The Room
Street Date: November 9, 2018
1. Apartment Pianos
2. A Topiary
3. The Fleeting Fame Of No Hit Pitchers
4. Wine Lips
8. Brass, Wire
9. Traveling Music
12. Transition Lens
16. The Spring Is Flooding My House