|John Frusciante — Foregrow EP (APRIL 16, 2016)|
John Frusciante — Foregrow EP (APRIL 16, 2016) –♦– John Frusciante zaujímá jedinečné místo v současné hudební topografii. Navzdory tomu, že byl klíčovou postavou v jedné z nejvíce trvale úspěšných kapel v historii alternativního rocku , drtivá většina jeho zaznamenaného výkonu a hudebního blahobytu sídlí v různých sólových únicích a spolupracích s přáteli a dalšími kapelami. Jeho komfort je můj komfort. Cítím spoluúčast. Podívejme se však blíže: Vyberu si “Expre’act” jako důkaz toho, že k EP nelze přistupovat jednoznačně a že JF nezobu z ruky úplně všechny plody, které na jeho dlani vidím. K této i jiným skladbám se stavím se svou sílou rozumu. “Expre’act” je kolizí mělké a jaksi ‘blátivé’ syntetické linky a klopýtavých drum beatů, které se opile naklánějí dovnitř a ven z prostoru bez jakékoli synchronizace po dobu pěti minut. Track, zdá se, svědčí o způsobu tvorby Fruscianta, jak popsal magazín Electronic Beats, ve kterém “tempo je v pohybu po celou dobu a neexistuje žádné melodické nebo rytmické centrum, jádro, kolem kterého se soustředí vedlejší nápady. Je to jen matoucí hudba, která se rozpadá.” Mne to pochopitelně nevadí, umím si beztak najít to, co chci a stávám se tím, čím chci. Pro mne “Expre’act” tedy není kámenem klopýtání, ale vrcholem rohu, na který se postavím s vírou v lepší výhled do jeho krajiny.
Essential Tracks: “Foregrow”, “Lowth Forgue”
Birth name: John Anthony Frusciante
Also known as: Trickfinger(s)
Born: March 5, 1970, New York City, United States
Location: Santa Monica ~ Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Album release: APRIL 16, 2016
Record Label: ACID TEST
FORMATS: DIGITAL, VINYL, CD
1. Foregrow 6:37
2. Expre’act 5:14
3. Lowth Forgue 5:13
4. Unf 4:39
♦♦ 1962 Fender Stratocaster
♦♦ 1963 Fender Telecaster
♦♦ 1955 Gretsch White Falcon
♦♦ 1962 Fender Jaguar
♦♦ 1969 Gibson Les Paul Custom
♦♦ Yamaha SG¨
–♦– On April 16th I am releasing an EP on the Acid Test label. It consists of 4 electronic pieces of music recorded in 2009. This was the period when I started recording my machines and synths onto a computer, using the program Renoise. Though I was still using the TB–303 quite often, I had moved away from making strictly Acid House music. There is no stylistic genre which this music fits into. I was just pushing my machines really hard, and constantly trying things which I had never done before. I would just describe it as adventurous electronic music. Throughout this time, I was also making a great deal of music with Speed Dealer Moms, and those experiences definitely informed my experimental approach. In fact, one song’s programming began in a hotel room in London, with the intention of performing it with SDM at the Bangface Weekender rave in 2009, but we ended up having to cancel due to faulty rental equipment.
–♦– Some of the programming and production techniques were inspired by people like Venetian Snares, AFX, Squarepusher, Gescom, DMX Crew, The Railway Raver, Ceephax Acid Crew, Luke Vibert, and Autechre. Martin Hannett’s production of Joy Division, and things like Depeche Mode, Heaven 17s first record, New Order, and early Human League, were also influential on this stuff. But musically, it is my approach to synthesis, my sense of melody, and my sense of rhythm, which give this music its style, whatever one wishes to call it.
–♦– The EP opens with a song called Foregrow, and this is the only tune on which I sing. The lyrics concern a vivid pre–life memory, in which I was a section of outer space. I used a midi guitar to play a DX7 synthesizer, in order to make these kinds of falling and whooshing sounds, by bending strings in a way that a person could never use a mod wheel or pitch bender. The sound of the guitar itself was never recorded and is therefore inaudible.
–♦– The second song is called Expre’act, and this was the first time I’d ever had the pleasure of programming machines to a tempo which is continually slowing down and speeding up. This song has a guitar solo, played through an Electro Harmonix Microsynthesizer. The song’s introduction is one Monomachine, using a lot of parameter locks. When the 303 comes in, I use its internal synth, while also using its sequencer to play many different synthesizers, one after another in rapid succession, sometimes using just CV and Gate, and other times using a CV to midi converter.
–♦– The 3rd track is Lowth Forgue, which, as I mentioned earlier, began as music I intended to play live for British ravers. But when that didn’t come to be, I took it home and it went in a variety of directions. Like a lot of tracks I’ve made these last 8 years, it goes through several different sections which are wholly unlike each other in instrumentation, mix, style, and so on. This idea comes from groups like Genesis and Yes, who made long songs comprised of sections which were totally distinct from one another, by means of editing. In the case of Lowth Forgue, there are 4 sections in a row which have nothing in common with one another, except that they share the same tempo and flow nicely from one to the next. This track has no guitar at all. However, it does have sampling, which all of the other songs lack.
–♦– The EP ends with Unf, which was the first tune I’d made in 4/4 for quite some time. It contains a guitar solo which is heavily treated by a modular synthesizer which my friend and bandmate Chris McDonald built for me. There are also a few other guitar parts, including a funk one and a Siouxsie & the Banshees type one, but this song, like the others, mainly consists of drum machines and synthesizers, especially the MC–202. There’s a hell of a lot of 202s in this track, including one section which sounds like someone playing a Wurlitzer electric piano but is actually six 202s programmed to sound like a guy playing keyboards.
–♦– I think of this EP as fun music that was fun to make. Overdubbing, in electronic music, was a pretty new thing for me at that time, and much of this music was developed live (i.e. with many machines playing together), and then recorded as individual instruments, each with their own respective track. This gave me the ability to be way fancier with my production than I was on the Trickfinger Acid House stuff, when I had only machines, synths, a small mixer, and a CD burner. This EP was the beginning of the studio setup I have continued to use, refine, and develop ever since. Here are four pictures of it, taken a couple of years ago.
–♦– The Foregrow EP is a compilation of tracks chosen by Oliver Bristow of Acid Test. Other tracks from this period are on my Soundcloud and Bandcamp pages, JF Directly From JF.
–♦– The cover of the EP is a sculpture conceived by Marcia Pinna. It is a visual depiction of the lyrical “rules” which I adhered to in the song Foregrow. We were driving one night, and I told her, at length, of the connection between Aleister Crowley’s Book Of Lies(falsely titled), and Ian Curtis’s lyrics, which I first perceived in 1997. My explanation of these rules inspired in her mind a vision, which became a drawing, then a miniature sculpture, and then an 8 foot tall, twenty foot long sculpture, which she and Sarah Sitkin built in Sarah’s art studio, where it was then photographed. A day later, the whole thing came tumbling down and shattered into a million pieces.
BY JOE HEMMERLING ON APRIL 19, 2016, 6:00 AM; SCORE: B–
–♦– John Frusciante occupies a unique space in the contemporary musical landscape. Despite having been a key figure in one of the most enduringly successful bands in the history of alternative rock, the vast majority of his recorded output resides in various solo releases and collaborations with friends and other bands. Frusciante kicks out records with the prolificacy of a basement–show–playing noisehead, and he does so for an audience far smaller than that of some of the higher–profile groups he’s contributed to. His career is a delightful example of what can happen when a musician reaches a level of independence where he can throw commercial considerations to the wind and just produce whatever the hell he or she feels like.
–♦– That sense of freedom and abandon resonates all throughout the Foregrow EP. The four songs collected here operate in a space similar to last year’s eponymous album released under his Trickfinger handle. According to NME, Frusciante’s inspiration here stems from “elements of John Carpenter’s eternal scores, the drum programming DNA of jungle and footwork, and yes, a Roland TB–303.” While you aren’t likely to mistake anything here for DJ Rashad, there’s no question that we’re a long ways away from Shadows Collide with People, and even 2014’s electronic–leaning Enclosure, which contorted its mechanical beats into more pop–friendly structures. Three quarters of the compositions are completely wordless, and all four of them shun predictable verse–chorus patterns in favor of a kind of dance floor logic.
–♦– The title track is the closest Frusciante comes to working in a rock mode on the EP, while also showing the clearest nods toward Carpenter’s moody, driving sound design. A decidedly retro synth beat throbs like a heart while the skittering breakbeat assembles itself underneath it. Frusciante’s voice makes its only appearance on the record here, but rather than occupying the center stage, it shifts around in the mix, moving in and out of intelligibility. The back half of the track is taken over by a thin, dissonant tone that sounds like an electric guitar being fed through a fax machine (FYI, for our younger readers), and it dances over the suddenly massive beat as the song barrels towards its end.
–♦– From its friendliest offering, the EP moves to its most challenging. “Expre’act” is a collision of melting synth lines and stumbling drum beats that drunkenly careen in and out of sync for five minutes. The track seems indicative of a mode of creation Frusciante described to Electronic Beats, in which “the tempo is moving the whole time, and there’s no melodic or rhythmic center. It’s just disorienting music that’s falling apart.” It’s an exhilarating exercise in rhythmic unsteadiness and experimentation.
–♦– The pair of tracks on the B–side don’t scale the heights of the ones that preceded them. The trancey “Lowth Forgue” is dominated by a whimsical synth line that sounds a little like Dan Friel stripped of his more anarchic qualities. While it eventually makes its way into more dynamic territory, it never quite coalesces into anything memorable. “Unf” fares a little better, with some complex synth programming that recalls Frusciante’s expressive guitar work.
–♦– As a whole, Foregrow hangs together pretty well, even if not entirely essential. Long–time devotees will surely pore over this latest transmission from Johnnyland for any hint as to where his muse will carry him next. For the rest of us, there are still enough moments of haunting beauty and compositions that defy easy classification to justify a glance at this curious release from a most curious artist.
|John Frusciante — Foregrow EP (APRIL 16, 2016)|