John Parish: Once Upon A Little Time
John Parish: Once Upon A Little Time
Artist John Parish
Album Once Upon A Little Time
Label Thrill Jockey Records
Released 9/13/2005
Recorded last year by Marco Tagliola at Perpetuum Mobile studio in Nave, Italy, Toybox in Bristol and Sun Studios in Copenhagen, the album sees Parish join forces with Jean-Marc Butty (drums) Marta Collica (keyboards/vocals) and Giorgia Poli (bass/vocals).

With guest appearances from Adrian Utley (Portishead), Jeremy Hogg (PJ Harvey) and Hugo Race (Bad Seeds, Sepiatone) the album talks about the heroic struggle of everyday life, yet it also talks nonsense.

While recording Once Upon A Little Time, the core group of Parish, Collica, Poli and Butty developed a musical vocabulary and conversational tone that only a band can have. Most of the tracks were cut live in the studio and you can hear the trust the four have in each other as they waiver between intense emotional fragility and unashamed recklessness.

The album title is inspired by John Parish’s youngest daughter, Hopey. Hopey used to begin all of her stories with this phrase and it resonated in Parish’s mind as he liked the combination of the epic and intimate. Hopey also makes her recorded debut on this album. She wandered into the studio while Parish was recording a vocal and started playing the organ. It sounded good, so Parish stopped singing, held the mic over the organ speaker and left the tape running.

Apart from Kevin Hunter’s ‘Somebody Else’, all the songs on Once Upon A Little Time are Parish’s own compositions, and, in the case of ‘ Glade Park ’ he draws inspiration from even the most bleakest of circumstances. The song was written after Parish visited the Colorado National Monument. He was told it was beautiful, but after contracting a serious bacterial infection in his left eye, was unable to see it himself. He narrowly escaped losing his sight altogether and had to stay there a week while it was treated. ‘I couldn’t stand any light,’ said Parish. ‘So I could only go outside in the middle of the night, crunching around on the snow with really blurry vision. It was like being on another planet. Oddly enjoyable.’

Once Upon A Little Time has been described as ‘a grown–up record for people who loathe music for grown-ups’, and with its release, Parish will no doubt see his musical vision reach an even wider audience. Intimate, intense, serious, frivolous and not to be ignored.