Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Frances the Mute
Frances the Mute is an album by the progressive rock band The Mars Volta. It was released in the US on March 1, 2005. Ignoring the boundaries of classification or genre, Frances the Mute displays a deep jazz influence while infusing Latin flavor into every song, most apparent in L'Via L'Viaquez.
Jeremy Ward, audio artist for The Mars Volta until his death, had previously worked as a repo man. One day, Ward discovered a diary in the backseat of a car he was repossessing, and began to note the similarities between his life and that of the author - mainly, that they had both been adopted. The diary told of the author's search for his biological parents, with the way being pointed by a collection of people, their names being the basis for each named track of Frances.
Frances the Mute is comparable to The Mars Volta's 2003 release De-Loused in the Comatorium with its cryptic, verbiose lyrics, largely improvised musical interludes and highly layered instrumentals. Much of the album has a psychadelic feel to it, though the band members have reportedly gone sober due to the role of drugs in the deaths of Julio Venegas and Jeremy Ward. Moreso than De-Loused in the Comatorium is the amount of ambient noise on the album. Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore, for example, begins with 4 minutes of coqui frogs singing with light synthesizer in the background.
Note - The following is still speculative until the title track decoder is released
- Vismund Cygnus - Title character
- Miranda - Grandmother of Cygnus, Mother of Frances
- L'Via L'Viaquez - Sister of Frances
- Frances The Mute - Mother of Cygnus
- Cygnus....Vismund Cygnus (13:08):
- Umbilical Syllables
- Facilis Descenus Averni
- Con Safo
- The Widow (5:57)
- L' Via L' Viaquez (12:27)
- Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore (13:15):
- Vade Mecum
- Pour Another Icepick
- Pisacis (Phra-Men-Ma)
- Con Safo
- Cassandra Gemini (31:42):
- Plant A Nail In The Navel Stream
- Multiple Spouse Wounds
See Trivia for Explanation
- Cygnus....Vismund Cygnus (13:02)
- The Widow (5:50)
- L' Via L' Viaquez (12:21)
- Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore (13:08)
- Cassandra Gemini I (4:45)
- Cassandra Gemini II (6:40)
- Cassandra Gemini III (2:25)
- Cassandra Gemini IV (7:41)
- Cassandra Gemini V (4:59)
- Cassandra Gemini VI (3:48)
- Cassandra Gemini VII (0:48)
- Cassandra Gemini VIII (0:53)
- Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - guitar
- Cedric Bixler-Zavala - vocals
- Jon Theodore - drums
- Ikey Owens - keyboards
- Juan Alderette - bass
- Marcell Rodriguez-Lopez - percussion
- Michael Balzary (Flea) - Trumpet
- John Frusciante - First two guitar solos on 'L'via L'viaquez'
- Larry Harlow - Piano / Treated Clarinet on 'L'via L'viaquez' and 'Cassandra Geminni'
- Lenny Castro - Additional track percussion
- Adruab Terrazas - Tenor Sax / Flute on 'Cassandra Geminni'
- David Campbell - String Arrangements
- Fernano Moreno
- Erick Hernandez
- Diego Casillas
- Ernesto Molina
- Joel Derouin
- Roberto Cani
- Mario De Leon
- Peter Kent
- Josefina Vergara
- The Coqui of Puerto Rico
- Salvador (Chava) Hernandez
- Wayne Bergeron
- Suzie Katayama
- Randy Jones (Also contributed Tuba)
- Larry Corbett (Also contributed Cello)
- Roger Manning (Also contributed Piano)
- Nicholas Lane (Also contributed Trombone)
- William Reichenbach (Also contributed Bass Trombone)
- The album shares a large amount of bi-lingual content, jumping from Spanish to English at certain points in the music.
- The artwork is once again done by Storm Thorgerson, who created the cover for De-Loused.
- Oddly enough, the title track, Frances the Mute, is not on the album itself, but will be released with the double album vinyl as a free bonus 12-inch single.
- At release, due to the fact the album's five tracks would constitute it as an EP (despite its 77-minute length), it was split into twelve tracks total - the Cassandra Gemini tracks are not split upon movement lines. See this page for further clarification.
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