Words by Evan La Ruffa
Well, he’s done it again… just in a brand new way. “Next level shit” doesn’t even cut it. And to be honest, as soon as he left the Red Hot Chili Peppers (for the 2nd time), it was like opening pandora’s box; leaving John to his own devices, all of it based on making music and creative productivity on a level that year-long RHCP tours would have never allowed. Both as historical & emotional Chili’s fans, the news was a punch to the gut with incomprehensible upside. With two releases forthcoming, those of us curious as to what he’s been up to are starting to hear the results. Letur Lefr feels like an EP created in some unquantifiable time frame that occurs after the future. Ascribing genres to the music is almost impossible, despite John calling it “Acid / Progressive Synth Pop” which definitely fits, but also falls short in elucidating the breadth of the tapestry employed in these 5 tracks.
In his typically celestial fashion, Frusciante blends a seemingly endless array of inspiration into a bundle of tracks that push the envelope. John’s latest trip involves the guitar very little, relying on a range of vintage synths (including the MC-202) to create sounds that include what you might hear from Autechre, and feels like a natural progression of his work as Speed Dealer Moms, with Aaron Funk. The first track on the EP, “In Your Eyes”, builds melody and rhythm as whiplashes and crackling percussion settle amidst the soul of a machine. The beat also harkens back to the “To Record Only Water…” rhythms and flows into a kaleidoscope then breaks into odd time signatures layered with manipulated vocals and a glitchy outro, punctuated by beautifully tortured guitars. “909 Day” drops vocal samples in rapid succession and multiple languages, then opens into an expanse. Orchestral and operatic amongst a beat easily inhabited by an MC, John again offers pretty vocals buffered by raspy and ragged ones. “Glowe” is breaks and b-boy, an interlude that cuts the EP in half and sets the stage calmly for perhaps the most surprising track, “FM”, in which guest MC’s take their rightful place on the record. If JF becomes the illest hip hop producer don’t say we didn’t warn ya; it’s something he can clearly do. Thin about it: funk heritage + expert ear. This track is a head nodder while building more texture and nuance than beatsmiths’ tend to. The acid re-emerges in “In My Light,” as RZA lends his lungs to the project and dissipates in a conclusion punctuated by keys and stratosphere.
Buy it any way you like… our vinyl should be here soon!
Full album credits. They’re pretty impressive (if you ask us):
All music written, performed and produced by John Frusciante
Printed lyrics written and performed by John Frusciante
909 Day contains words written and performed by Leggezin Fin, Masia One, Kinetic 9, and RZA
FM lyrics written and performed by Kinetic 9, Rugged Monk and RZA
In My Light contains lyrics written and performed by RZA
Female vocals on In Your Eyes by Nicole Turley
Female backing vocals on FM by John Frusciante
Recorded at home
Studio manager: Anthony Zamora
Cover art by John Frusciante
Cover design by Julian Chavez and John Frusciante