On April 8, Record Collection will release Enclosure, the 11th full-length album from John Frusciante. Enclosure was written, produced, performed and engineered by Frusciante in his Los Angeles-based recording studio. “Scratch” is the first song recorded during the Enclosure sessions (though it was written during The Empyrean sessions) and is available for free via johnfrusciante.com as a high-quality source audio download. Fans can pre-order Enclosure via johnfrusciante.com beginning tomorrow, March 11.
“Enclosure, upon its completion, was the record which represented the achievement of all the musical goals I had been aiming at for the previous five years,” says Frusciante. “It was recorded simultaneously with Black Knights’ Medieval Chamber, and as different as the two albums appear to be, they represent one investigative creative thought process. What I learned from one fed directly into the other. Enclosure is presently my last word on the musical statement which began with PBX.”
Tessa Jeffers from Premiere Guitar magazine gets to the heart of the matter below:
“There’s a battle being waged in John Frusciante’s mind. In his musical world of juxtapositions and genre marriages, the traditional spars with the far-out, and mathematical equations somehow compute into expressions of feeling. The guitar will always be a bedrock instrument for the former Red Hot Chili Pepper, but his new weapons of choice are machines. “The Roland MC-202 [an early-’80s synthesizer/sequencer] is one of my favorite instruments,” Frusciante says. “The same goes for drum machines, samplers, the computer, and other synthesizers.”
“For Frusciante, the main appeal of these instruments is that once you learn to manipulate them, you can produce all types of instrumental sounds instantly. Frusciante actually has six MC-202s, which he uses in various combinations to translate guitar parts into synthesized parts. With multiple machines, he can manipulate a single guitar string per machine, and then endlessly refine each string’s sound.
“‘At this point I’m as fluent in programming as I am on guitar,’ he says. ‘Since I’ve learned the language and integrated it with my natural tendencies as a musician, it sometimes feels like I’m a commander in a war. Like there’s fu**ed-up shit going on, and I have to fix it. Like there are two sides arguing, and one side has to win and one side has to lose. One side has to be captured and enslaved to the other side. In some ways it’s probably not that different from playing a war video game. I read books about subjects like war because they remind me of how I think when I make music.’
“Frusciante emphasizes the fact that programmed instruments are ‘obedient to the mind’- a composer’s most important instrument. He now feels there are no physical obstacles between the music in his imagination and the sounds he creates. He says he’s equally inspired by 20th-century classical composers such as Igor Stravinsky and Iannis Xenakis, and more recent electronic experimentalists like Tom “Squarepusher” Jenkinson, who is both a classical bass virtuoso and a master programmer.
“Frusciante says he was introduced to electronic music when he formed Speed Dealer Moms, an ‘experimental acid house’ group, with friends Aaron Funk (Venetian Snares) and Chris McDonald. Six years later, Frusciante is about to release Enclosure, his 11th solo album, which relies heavily on programming. He views it as a personal musical breakthrough, a marriage of intricate guitar compositions and the electronica knowledge he acquired while creating prior albums like The Empyrean and PBX Funicular Intaglio Zone.
“‘It’s a great time to be a musician,’ says the prolific Frusciante. ‘It just feels good when you can blend different genres that seem to have been segregated from one another in history. I feel like there’s a big message in Enclosure, that this is a way songwriters can express themselves without having to depend on producers or engineers or other musicians. Your job as a songwriter can be to create a sound composition in a way that traditional musicians can’t conceive. They know how to play their physical instrument, but when it comes to the actual goal of being a musician-creating a sonic composition-they rely on other people to do it for them. Around the time I was making [2009’s] Empyrean, I’d envisioned certain things, like the idea that jungle beats and slow, Black Sabbath-type heavy metal would go really good together. I saw how really slow music and really fast drums might intersect, but I had no capability to do it. When I finally felt I’d achieved it, it felt like I’d done something. Being in the creative process is my favorite part of anything I do. I really love the act of making music.'”