The last Frusciante reissue we got in - 2005's 'Curtains' - ended up being our surprise best seller of 2019, such is the almost cult-like devotion his solo work enjoys and the sheer demand for it on vinyl. Originals of 2009's 'The Empyrean' sometimes fetch similarly silly prices over on Discogs, and so we're expecting this latest reissue - featuring contributions from Jonny Marr and RHCP bandmate Flea - to fly off the shelves too. Be quick!
Vinyl Double LP £25.76 RCM101120LP
2LP on Record Collection Music. Cut from the original analogue tapes at Bernie Grundman's mastering. Includes hi-res audio download card.
- Includes download code
I’m currently self-isolating at home and one of the books I brought with me was ‘Acid For The Children’, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ memoirs. The group were one of my first introductions into music when I was about eight years old or so, and though I barely listen to them anymore, they’ll always hold a dear place in my heart. John Frusciante’s solo work however, is something I’m always intrigued by. From the Aphex Twin-isms of his recent Trickfinger project, to his collaborations with The Mars Volta and his five albums in a year stretch, he’s assuredly carved himself out an interesting niche in music. Given the extreme personal turmoil he’s faced in life and his surprisingly varied musical influences, I’d snap up an autobiography from the guitar virtuoso in a second. Saying that, he’s a notoriously reclusive chap who’s deeply ashamed of his past addictions, so the chances of him publishing a book are slim. Our best bets of gaining insight into his persona can be uncovered in ‘Curtains’ and ‘The Empyrean’, meticulous concept albums which John agonised over time and time again.
Frusciante’s eighth solo outing is a concept record regarding dual personalities within the same character. The title refers to the highest part of heaven, a phrase Keats and Dante referred to often in their works. Beginning with a semi-improvised ode to Funkadelic’s guitar-led psychedelic masterpiece ‘Maggot Brain’, right off the bat you know it’s unlikely the album will follow conventional structure. It flows gently into a glorious cover of Tim Buckley’s ‘Song To The Siren’, surpassing Buckley’s and almost rivalling This Mortal Coil’s gorgeously gothic take. ‘Dark/Light’ switches from twinkling pianos and effect-laden vocals to motorik drum machines and fretboard exploring basslines. Then there’s ‘Central’, an explosive track featuring none other than Johnny Marr. It really is a huge sounding album highlight, all lucid solos, choruses with huge melodies, and a string-quartet to round things off nicely. ‘One More of Me’ pairs bluesy baritone with plucked harps and organ hums gorgeously, with string arrangements which sound like baroque Beatles at their best.
‘The Empyrean’ is a mysterious, philosophical, passionate and often deeply melancholic album. Frusciante’s musical exploration and toils have never been more evident, and more often than not, it reaches the heavenly heights it strives for.
YOUR RECENTLY VIEWED ITEMS
- The Empyrean (10 Year Anniversary Issue) by John Frusciante
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