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Drum & Bass - Released October 23, 2020 | Timesig

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Rock - Released February 11, 2011 | Parlophone UK

The sixth of six albums recorded by Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante during 2004, Curtains was initially tracked on the musician's living room floor and subsequently overdubbed with Carla Azar of Autolux on drums, Ken Wylde on upright bass, and Omar Rodriguez of the Mars Volta, who lent his guitar playing to a pair of tracks. Initiated by the stellar, Dylanesque acoustic tones of "The Past Recedes," Curtains opens to reveal evocative, soulful material like "Lever Pulled" and the bright, melodic reflection known as "A Name." The magical "Ascension -- which uses George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" as a touchstone -- offsets the piano dirge "Leap Your Bar," but Frusciante's increasing comfort as a vocalist during this prolific spell is what is most notable. One needs to look no further than the beauty of "Anne" (which is arguably the best of the lot here) for evidence. But Curtains is the sum of its parts. Nearly always inventive, the 11 tunes here collect to form one magnificent piece of art. © John D. Luerssen /TiVo
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Pop - Released February 12, 2001 | Record Collection Music

With the opening kick of a simple but loud drum machine beat and multiple full-throttle guitar wails over the top, it quickly becomes apparent that John Frusciante has also given a swift kick to his heroin addiction. Hard drugs left the Red Hot Chili Peppers' guitarist derailed, deranged, and near death before an L.A. Weekly reporter detailed his frail state in a chilling story, moving some friends to help Frusciante check into a rehab center. He got off drugs and rejoined the Peppers in time to help Californication become a critical and popular success in 1999. In his time off from the band, however, Frusciante released two solo records, which he later admitted were made for drug money. Niandra LaDes and Usually Just a T-Shirt and Smile From the Streets You Hold displayed an intriguingly dark departure from the Peppers' polished funky punk. The scratchy and naked lo-fi ramblings reveled in the art of voyeuristic discomfort. And while some of the results displayed intense, edge-teetering freakouts, ragged beauty, or bleak intelligence -- celebrating the idea that the process and development of a song can sometimes be just as engaging as the "finished" product -- others simply unraveled into crumbs of little or no value. To Record Only Water for Ten Days, however, is made up of 15 "legitimate" songs. The whole is still quite simple -- stellar guitar work, impressive vocal range, drum machine, and minimal effects -- but it's a much healthier and "together" sound. Still a departure from the Peppers, To Record has an overall almost goth-like singer/songwriter vibe, at times colliding into rock catharsis. But Frusciante hasn't forgotten his shaky past, utilizing similarly abstract and slightly disturbed lyricism: "Where you go doesn't matter/Cuz there will come a time/When time goes out the window/And you'll learn to drive out of focus/I'm you and if anything unfolds/It's supposed to." Although most fans will no doubt be relieved that Frusciante has pieced his life back together, appreciators of the "falling apart" aspect of his past work might be disappointed by To Record's more accessible, less collapsible sturdiness. Even the look of the record is excessively clean, with a simple two-color design and all-caps block letters. © Melissa Giannini /TiVo
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Rock - Released February 11, 2011 | Parlophone UK

After lying low for a few years after a tremendous burst of activity in 2004, John Frusciante is back with another solo album, Empyrean. It starts out with a fantastic instrumental called "Before the Beginning": a great minor key guitar solo, replete with echoplexed drums that was surely inspired by "Maggot Brain." After that, it's back to the kind of introspective songs that have characterized much of his solo work. His singing is actually pretty remarkable considering his initial forays into vocals. He sounds confident and assured, even as the subject matter wrestles with dark thoughts and doubt. The songs tend to be fairly spare with guitar, electric piano, bass and drums with strings adding some lushness towards the end. Frusciante also uses the studio as an instrument à la Eno, adding cool treatments to nearly every song. Some of the songs are a bit mopey and the subject matter is often on the heavy end, but "Dark/Light" shifts gears nicely (dark to light?) where the heavy reverb and piano of "Dark" gives way to the cheesy rhythm box and falsetto vocals of "Light," which leads into a nice bass-driven coda with choir. "Enough of Me" also features Johnny Marr on guitar, and one of them turns in a really nice Robert Fripp guitar solo. "One More of Me" is just strings and electric piano with Frusciante seemingly trying to sound like Stephin Merritt. Frusciante has done a nice job of carving an identity completely separate from his main gig, and Empyrean fits nicely with his other solo albums. © Sean Westergaard /TiVo
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Rock - Released February 11, 2011 | Parlophone UK

John Frusciante kicked it into high gear in 2004, not only releasing Shadows Collide With People through Warner Bros., but also planning to release an album every other month or so through the rest of the year on the Recordcollection label. The first of these releases is Will to Death, a collaboration with Josh Klinghoffer (who also helped out with Shadows Collide With People). Those familiar with Frusciante's other solo work will know that this material will be far from Red Hot Chili Peppers lite: Frusciante definitely has his own (somewhat haunted) muse. The songs are basically nice little pop tunes, with hard-panned oddball production and very personal, introspective lyrics. This album also marks a new personal aesthetic for Frusciante: he wanted these songs to be raw and immediate (as inspired by some of his favorite albums), and to this end there were very few takes involved with any of these songs, and mistakes and elements of chance found their way in as well. Frusciante's voice has come a long way, and there are some really interesting production touches like all the backwards touches on "A Loop" and the double-tracked piano tinkling on "Wishing." There's almost nothing in the way of guitar heroics and it's far from groundbreaking, but fans of darkly personal skewed pop should enjoy Will to Death. © Sean Westergaard /TiVo
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Pop - Released February 24, 2004 | Warner Records

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Pop - Released January 1, 2013 | American Recordings Catalog P&D

Upon leaving the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1992, guitarist John Frusciante delved into home recording, eventually completing a 12-track album titled Niandra Lades that bore the influence of '60s oddballs like Syd Barrett and Captain Beefheart. Niandra Lades languished on the shelf for a while until it was paired with another 12-track collection of Frusciante's home-taping efforts; this one, titled Usually Just a T-Shirt, concentrated on pleasant psychedelic instrumentals with plenty of backward-guitar effects. While some might find the jump from bizarre vocal numbers to atmospheric instrumentals (and the resultant shift in mood) a bit jarring, the two halves do share certain characteristics. Frusciante's singing voice has a fragile, wispy quality that sits well next to the often delicate second half, and the sparse arrangements of the first half help set the stage for the gossamer guitar work later on. Because the whole project has a definite stream-of-consciousness feel, it does fall prey to underdeveloped ideas at times, but overall, Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-Shirt is an intriguing and unexpected departure from Frusciante's work with the Chili Peppers. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Rock - Released February 11, 2011 | Parlophone UK

Inside of Emptiness is John Frusciante's fifth release of 2004, this time principally inspired by the raw production values of Lust for Life and White Light/White Heat. Considerably more guitar-oriented than Will to Death and more straightforward than Ataxia's Automatic Writing, Inside of Emptiness rocks hard up until the last track (a gentle rocker), without the polish of Shadows Collide With People. That difference is best exemplified by the leadoff track, "What I Saw," where every level is sent into the red; even the drums are distorted. Many of the songs are sung in falsetto, but when the guitar solos come in, they're all muscle and really benefit from the immediacy of the production. As with the other albums in this series, Frusciante is wearing his influences on his sleeve but following his own vision, and it's quite interesting to track an artist's virtually unfiltered output over the course of a year or so. Inside of Emptiness won't win any awards for originality, but Frusciante deserves credit for maintaining a high level of quality with such a prodigious output. © Sean Westergaard /TiVo
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Rock - Released February 11, 2011 | Parlophone UK

Another part of the flurry of 2004 releases from John Frusciante, DC EP contains four low-key songs produced by Fugazi's Ian Mackaye at Washington, D.C.'s Inner Ear, all of which feature drumming from Fugazi associate Jerry Busher. It would've been more practical to include a couple of the better songs on one of the several full-lengths put out during the year. It's all raw, unfussy, deceptively off-center, off-the-cuff material, little different in feel from the majority of his other 2004 releases. On the slight side and not essential, but not a throwaway, it does feature "A Corner" -- one of Frusciante's best songs to date. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Pop - Released February 11, 2011 | Parlophone UK

John Frusciante calls Sphere in the Heart of Silence, his collaboration with Josh Klinghoffer, "a record of electronic music," but it's not nearly as "electronic" as that statement makes it sound. It's really more an allusion to the fact that his other releases of this year have been mostly comprised of guitar, bass and drums, and that there is some programming, synth-work and overdubbing on this one. "Sphere" starts out like a cross between an organ fugue with sci-fi effects on top and sped-up Frippertronics. After about four minutes and a rough edit, beats come in along with a guitar solo each from Frusciante and Klinghoffer. "Afterglow" was written and performed by Klinghoffer, with Frusciante contributing only lyrics and vocals, and sounds reminiscent of early New Order. "Walls" has a more robotic feel and some strong vocals by Frusciante, with some "Planet Rock" influence towards the end. "Communique" was recorded in real time with Klinghoffer singing and playing piano while Frusciante adds winds sounds with a synth. Both singers have sort of a wailing, cathartic vocal style, which might become a bit much for some listeners by the end of the album. "Surrogate People" adds a bit of acoustic guitar to the mix, and the album closes with a brief track of just piano and vocals by Frusciante. Some of these tracks were written around the time of Shadows Collide With People, and others were written for specific performances, so the album feels more like a series of experiments rather than a cohesive album. Still, you've got to give Frusciante credit, as this is his sixth release of 2004, and they've all had some strong moments. © Sean Westergaard /TiVo
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Rock - Released July 13, 2012 | Parlophone UK

Former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitar virtuoso John Frusciante's solo recordings have always been incredibly stylistically divergent from the arena-filling alternative frat rock that he built his fame on. Often difficult to the point of incoherence, Frusciante's prolific output has ranged from muffled lo-fi meandering to cathartic screaming. Letur-Lefr continues this often bewildering weirdness, branching out into scattershot hip-hop beats augmented by occasional bluesy soloing and cameo appearances from a host of established emcees. The five songs on this EP were recorded in 2010 and didn't see initial release until 2012. "In Your Eyes" opens the set with a fairly straightforward rock approach, interrupted midway with glitchy drum machine breakdowns, endless structural turns, and menacing electronics eventually obscuring most of the recognizable trademarks of radio-ready alternative rock. Frusciante's deep and melodramatic vocals and backing vocals from his wife Nicole Turley are edited haphazardly, soaring over the weirdness at times and being folded under waves of jammy guitars at others. Second track "909 Day" really opens up the strange perspective of Letur-Lefr, beginning with fragments of various rap routines collaged together over broken drum programming. "FM" and "In My Light" both see cameos by Wu Tang's RZA (trading full verses with Rugged Monk and Kinetic 9 on the former and more chopped-up fragments on the latter), delivered over soggy synthesizer stabs and eerily processed guitar lines. The cold electronics and jumbled beats recall the more adventurous side of early-2000s art-rap collective Anti-Pop Consortium, but it's never too long before Frusciante pulls the rug out from under his own songs with an abrupt shift. If these incredibly obtuse concoctions were the work of someone other than the guy who helped write "Under the Bridge," they might actually make sense as post-Dilla aspiring beats. As they stand, with Frusciante intermittently dropping falsetto R&B vocals, movie dialogue samples, and Hendrix-inspired guitar at every turn, these songs just represent more in the occasionally enjoyable, often puzzling, and always unexpected legacy of his solo catalog. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 24, 2012 | Record Collection Music

The ever-winding path of John Frusciante's solo career is a confusing one to say the least. Light years away from his contributions to the Red Hot Chili Peppers as a guitar slinger from the school of Hendrix, Frusciante's solo albums have been visceral, howling affairs dealing with raw nerves and dark places in the human spirit. Now with both PBX Funicular Intaglio Zone and the Letur-Lefr EP that came just before it, his music becomes an unfiltered mesh of every conceivable style, sometimes to the point of incoherence. Recorded throughout 2011, the album was the result of Frusciante's dream to create electronic music, but seems like more of a synthesis of a multitude of different directions, sometimes branching out in all of these directions at once. "Ratiug" is one of the tracks more easily recognizable as a traditional rock song, but it's still a dizzying mixed bag. Moody alt-rock chord progressions and multi-tracked vocals float over collage-style drumbeats. A sample of the snare hit introduction from Joy Division's "Disorder" is easily picked out, but less familiar sampled drum breaks make way for lazy horn sections and eventually a freestyle routine by MC Kinetic 9 rounds out the confusing song over a bed of synth strings. This kind of experimentation runs wild throughout the album, with every song a collision of rudimentary electronics, gritty drum'n'bass rhythm tracks, and even a little dubstep wobble thrown in for good measure before quickly jumping ship to the next sound. "Sam" begins with a nauseating duo of rhythmless live drums and stuttering vocal samples, breaking into a burst of distorted jungle rhythms thick with metal guitars, melding Atari Teenage Riot with Negativland with Soundgarden. A song like "Mistakes" moves so frantically from out-of-the-box keyboard sounds and by-the-book electro sounds to a mishmash of rock guitar and prog histrionics it threatens to come off as parody. The thing is, there's no doubt that Frusciante is sincere in his expression with this incredibly warped music. There's no easy explanation for these sounds, no context for a lot of the choices he makes with the rapid-fire style changes and jarring production choices that come one after another after another on almost every song here. Instead of sounding indulgent, or even busy, the field of sound Frusciante creates sounds strangely uniform in its complete insanity. Much like the schizophrenic landscape of a record like Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica, PBX FIZ creates a language of its own out of the chaos, and by the end, we have a few hints at what kind of deeper message lies beneath the confusion. Frusciante's specific breed of acid house-inspired electro dabbling with roots in alternative radio rock circa 1995 is going to prove too challenging for most listeners, and even fans of his strange language might have a hard time peeling back the layers. © Fred Thomas /TiVo