Wednesday, January 21, 2015


John Frusciante completed an ambitious series of six solo albums in as many months to reveal the real longing with the easy emotional accessibility of this affecting acoustic ascension.  The project was conceived as a means to take advantage of a hiatus from the Red Hot Chili Peppers after the tour for their album 'By The Way'.   Frusciante explains:  "I had a six-month break drom the Chili Peppers and I had about 70 songs that I wanted to record, So I said, 'I'm going to record as many of these songs as I can in this time.' I don't know how many I recorded, but I did a decent portion of them. I don't get a six-month break very often. Once the Chili Peppers start working together again, I won't get much time to spend. Now that I can make a record that quickly, I can take a weekend and record a few songs here and there."

The first five albums in the series all featured Josh Klinghoffer with Shadows Collide With PeopleThe Will to Death, and Inside of Emptiness  all credited to John Frusciante;  Automatic Writing released as the trio Ataxia (with Klinghoffer and Joe Lally of Fugazi);  and A Sphere in the Heart of Silence released as a collaboration between John Frusciante & Josh Klinghoffer.   

'Curtains' was a more intimate affair:    "It was just me sitting on a pillow on my living room floor, with my back leaning against the couch. There was a Neuman KM54 microphone on my guitar and a Telefunken 250 mic for my vocals. I would just go back and forth between my living room and the library, which is now the control room, and listen to what I'd done ... We used the Ampex 8-track. That album sounds so good. We usually seemed to have enough tracks for the instruments that we played, which were mostly acoustic guitar, upright bass, and drums. We used only one or two microphones to record the drums. I've never had such a good vocal and acoustic guitar sound as I do on that album. We bounced tracks where necessary — for instance, with the backing vocals. We'd do three tracks of harmonies, bounce them to one track, do the same again, put one of the two resulting tracks on the right and the other on the left, have a lead vocal in the middle, and another harmony in the middle behind the lead vocal.”

'Curtains'  features John Frusciante on vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, electric bass, melodica, piano, string ensemble, mellotron, synthesizer, treatments, production, and design;  Omar Rodríguez-López on lead guitar on "Lever Pulled" and joined lead guitar on "Anne";   Carla Azar on drums;  and Ken Wild on double bass;   with Didier Martín on production;  Ryan Hewitt on engineering and mixing;  Chris Holmes on additional mixing;  and Bernie Grundman on mastering.  It was the only album in the series that did not include Josh Klinghoffer.  

Frusciante considers:     "I think this one is the best in terms of a pure listening experience. It's me singing and playing the acoustic guitar. It also has upright bass, and Carla from the band Autolux plays drums. I loved having a feminine energy. My frend Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of the Mars Volta played some guitar. He and I do these solos together where we're using the same amp at the same time. It definitely goes beyond the scope of what an acoustic album normally consists of ... Sometimes it takes just living your life a certain way to be able to open yourself to the rhythm of the cosmos, to the point where you can use those familiar chords in the same way you might speak a few simple words of love to someone. A few of the most basic words in the language might be the most meaningful thing someone can hear, and the same can be said with basic chords ... The foundation of who I am and why I do what I do lies in a belief that there's more to what's going on than we're seeing around us. There's more than what meets the eye. If I didn't have that philosophy, I would have never switched my lifestyle from being extremely self-destructive to now being very healthy and constructive. I'm extremely grateful for the help that I have from other worlds and things like that. I try to pay that back and I try to open up people's minds who weren't able to go as far off the deep end as I was to learn the valuable lessons I've had."

full album:

All songs written by John Frusciante.

01. (00:00) The Past Recedes
02. (03:52) Lever Pulled
03. (06:14) Anne
04. (09:50) The Real
05. (12:55) A Name
06. (15:00) Control
07. (19:30) Your Warning
08. (23:14) Hope
09. (25:10) Ascension
10. (28:02) Time Tonight
11. (31:16) Leap Your Bar

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