Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Mars Volta - Frances The Mute (2CD)

The Mars Volta - Frances The Mute
(soniclovenoize double album reconstruction)

DISC ONE  [45:28]:
1.  Frances The Mute  [14:34]
2.  Cygnus....Vismund Cygnus  [13:02]
3.  The Widow  [6:32]
4.  L'Via L'Viaquez  [11:21]

DISC TWO  [45:41]:
5.  Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore  [13:10]
6.  Cassandra Gemini  [32:32]

In honor of the announcement today that The Mars Volta are breaking up, I thought I’d share this album reconstruction I created recently.  This is a reconstruction of what The Mars Volta’s 2005 album Frances The Mute was supposed to be, notably with the addition of the title track crossfaded into “Cygnus…” to open the album, as well as the closing 30-minute epic “Cassandra Gemini” reunited as one track, instead of split into eight pieces.  The main source used for my reconstruction was a high quality vinyl rip to secure the dynamics that were lost on the overly compressed and brickwalled CD version.  My Frances The Mute reconstruction is thus divided into two 45-minute discs, hence its subtitle.  The vinyl side divisions are ignored here, as one would have to break up “Cassandra Gemini” ten minutes into the song, defeating one of the purposes of this reconstruction. 
The first task in this reconstruction was to edit out the locked grooves in the vinyl version.  On the record, the locked grooves contained short samples of the songs themselves, so that as the needle moves into the locked groove, the song will play endlessly.  Obviously this needed to be removed for my reconstruction.  All tracks have been edited to mimic the CD version of the album without the locked grooves, and in some instances a short sample of the actual CD pressing was needed to patch in a missing gap of audio.   This would have only been for a few seconds, and the volume of the CD-sourced patches were adjusted to match the vinyl mastering.

The next task was to restore “Frances The Mute” as the opening track of the album.  Unfortunately, there was no quality vinyl rip of The Widow single available for my reconstruction, so the CD version is instead used, volume adjusted to match the vinyl-source.  The song was crossfaded into the beginning of “Cygnus....Vismund Cygnus“, with the “Sarcophagi” intro to “Cygnus” acting as the resolution of the tension created at the end of the “Sarcophagi” ending of the title track.  The decision was made not to seamlessly crossfade the “Sarcophagi” riffs of the two songs together and thus omitting a couple minutes of ambient effects over the repeated “Sarcophagi” riff, for the sake of staying with the album’s motifs  of lengthy atmospheric and experimental passages between the proper songs. 

The final element to be corrected in my Frances The Mute was to rejoin the erroneously fractured “Cassandra Gemini” into one 32-minute track, as many fans are adamant that is the correct option for an optimal listening experience.  Again, the locked groove was edited out and the brief missing audio was patched in from the CD to make a continuous vinyl-sourced “Cassandra Gemini” that follows the CD version.  By the way, if one was to break “Cassandra Gemini” into its five correct movements, the splits would be at 11:25, 21:51, 28:44 and 31:38. 

Enjoy what I believe is one of the masterpiece rock albums from the last decade, in what I believe was how The Mars Volta intended the album to be, with the best possible dynamic range. 

Sources used:
Frances The Mute (GSL vinyl rip- unknown ripper [Technics SL1200 > Audio Technica 440mla > Musical Fidelity V-LPS]
Frances The Mute (CD)
The Widow CD single

flac --> wav --> editing in SONAR --> flac encoding via TLH lv8
*md5, artwork and tracknotes included


  1. i love what your doing. i would really like to see some pink floyd keep up the good work

  2. This is a great idea. I find the CD mix to be pretty harsh at the best of times, so nice job! Keep up the good work.

  3. One of my favorite albums of all time and The Mars Volta's pièce de résistance. This is the optimal mix and song ordering that I've been searching for. Thank you, good sir.

  4. With all due respect but you should take more time listening this piece of art... And all is question of simetry, and this album have it (like Lateralus yeeeah...) I use to divide the album too in 2 parts a wild one and the passive one... Wich begins with L'Via, then the widow and final with Miranda... But the wild one OOOHH! MMFG! Just try begining with Cygnus, then Cassandra Gemini (yees!! The final riff of cygnus were made to make intro to cassandra in a punch!) and final with Frances the Mute... The vinyl version were made to be heared in that way... a tip from the member of the band ;) Thanks for your time i am shure that you will enjoy this order

  5. Great work! Thanks for trying and making all this effort.

  6. I don't know this album, so looking forward to hearing it.

  7. I want to thank you for doing this properly. I did have a good vinyl rip of Frances the Mute, and wanting to hear it as intended, created a really hacky crossfade myself aged 16 about 8 years ago into the CD version (that butchers CG). On first listen this is superb.

  8. This is a masterpiece of a mix and a true reinvention of one of the best albums of the decade. You sir, are a master.

  9. The links are dead. Any chance of a repost?

  10. fantastic job , this is my go-to version of this sonic masterpiece.

    thank you for sharing it with us

  11. great job, sir, on this reconstruction. the title track is best as the opener, and the mastering on these rips is clearly superior to the CD.

    question - would you know how i can find the original high-res (24-bit) vinyl rip of this album? i've seen torrents, but they're all dead.

    anyways, thank you for sharing

  12. Bump from 2014... I also did an "iPod Friendly" version of this record (my personal TMV favorite) back in the days of the Comatorium... I cut Frances, Miranda and Cassandra to its different movements and shared it with all the comatorians.

    Those were great times.

    I was wondering as Billy Bob if you would happen to have a 24 Bit rip, your vinyl sounds superb and my glow in the dark comes nowhere close with all the hiss and pops.

    So super long story short... would you happen to have this rip in 24 bits? I'd die to hear it!

  13. This... this made my month, if not year. I just learned about your site, and I love it! I also happen to love that you did a treatment of my favorite band, The Mars Volta. If there are any other lost albums you can put together from them I would greatly appreciate it. Other band suggestions: Panic!At the Disco second lost album before they kicked out most of the members and changed their sound (although I may have discredited myself with that suggestion).

  14. silly question, why the CD version of The Widow? Did the vinyl rip not have it? sounds great either way and is an awesome listening experience. thanks so much for all you do!

    1. Well if you read the guys post you'dve seen that he didn't find a HQ vinyl rip so to save time he used a CD version.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. the technicalities of creating this go over my head but hearing one of my favourite albums presented like this is awesome

  17. Thanks a lot. This is gonna be good. I was going to do the same if not found anywhere else. Much appreciated, a masterpiece indeed.

  18. Hey, trying to get access to the links, they seem to be down. Thanks!

  19. Great job! I've been looking for a FLAC version for months, but it's been taken down everywhere. I'm glad I found this blogspot. Any chance you'll be doing more FLAC The Mars Volta albums?

  20. Thank you for all the work you put into this!

  21. Thanks for sharing this, however the link for part 3 is down.

  22. I have just found your blog is there any chance of a re-up of this please as i love this album many thanks and keep up the great work.

  23. Hey man, I cannot see the links anywhere?

  24. There are no links at all. Any chance of a repost?

  25. Please re-up, soniclovenoize! Pretty please…

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  27. I lost many albums in an accidental flash drive format. Any chance that you'd re-up this, along with the other posts with dead links? I'd greatly appreciate it.

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