After a 3 year hiatus, John Frusciante is back with his 12th solo record. Letur-Lefr, releasing on 16th/17th July 2012, is a 5-track EP from the ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist. Frusciante had shown commendable mastery of studio techniques in his last solo record, The Empyrean and carries on in the same vein with his 12th release. If you’ve heard tracks from The Empyrean, the use of analog synthesizers in his songs should not be new to you. Having said that, Letur-Lefr is nothing like its predecessor. The EP is filled with synth sounds and guitar tracks are, to be honest, a minority. Then again, that’s John Frusciante for you, always going for something new, ever-surprising.
Here’s what Frusciante himself has to say about his upcoming release ""I consider my music to be Progressive Synth Pop, which says nothing about what it sounds like, but does describe my basic approach. I combine aspects of many styles of music and create my own musical forms by way of electronic instruments.” Frusciante is known for inviting a number of guest musicians to play on his records and this time it isn't any different. Frusciante has been quoted saying that the EP has "a few friends on vocals, mostly MC’ing"."
The opening track, In Your Eyes has a distinctly rock drum track. Textured synth tracks and multiple layering makes this one the most sonically rich of all 5. Plug in a good pair of headphones and be amazed at how much is going on within those few minutes.
909 Day takes you back to the Frusciante we all recognize with a beautiful progression and very – for lack of a better term – Frusciantish melody parts. Personally, this is the most memorable of the 5 tracks with goes to show that there is no substitute for a well written melody.
The first thing you’ll probably notice in Glowe is the constantly changing drum pattern, all of which, somehow, manages to sound perfect at that moment. Dynamics has been one of Frusciante’s strong points throughout his career and this track is a perfect example of that. And when the synth arpeggio kicks in at the 48th second, you cannot help but wonder where this man gets his inspiration from.
FM, the 4th track in the listing, is full blown hip-hop with a guest MC. Like In Your Eyes, it is heavily layered but although it starts off as promising, it falls short and is, undoubtedly, the weak link in this otherwise, impressive record.
The final track, In My Light is a brilliant contrast of a slow beat and mellow vocals with a fast paced synth-based arpeggio. The best thing about it is, however, the welcome return of Frusciante’s angelic falsetto.
Not only has Frusciante engineered all the tracks himself, he’s even made the cover art for the EP. Judging by the previews, music lovers, and specifically Frusciante fans have enough reasons to rejoice. And if that isn’t enough, Frusciante will be releasing another EP titled PBX Funicular Intaglio Zone later this year. Looks like Frusciante’s going to make our wait worthwhile.