While 'Enclosure' is the eleventh full-length solo release from former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist, John Frusciante, I have to admit that his career peripheral to RHCP has somewhat passed me by. As such, this is my first exposure to his work. It would seem this is the perfect time to hook up with his solo material as 'Enclosure' is, apparently, "the record which represents the achievement of all the musical goals he had been aiming at for the previous 5 years." Just what precisely constitutes those goals is unclear as press blurb elaborates no further. However, what is clear is that Frusciante has delivered an album that excels within the electronica/guitar fusion realm.
As far removed from the rock/funk of RHCP as it could be, 'Enclosure' is predominantly a mood-driven album, and one where its changing emotional states have been skilfully crafted by a man who evidently knows how to efficaciously use the tools with which he's equipped himself. Rather than loading the music with arbitrarily redundant layers of music, everything is well-posited and purposeful within each of the compositions. And, despite the heavy electronic bias over many passages of music, the synths, samplers, programmed drums etc have been merged well with his primary instrument, so much so that one never proves distracting for the other.
Vocally, 'Enclosure' is also a great listen, as Frusciante is able to both supplement and enhance songs' emotions by using his voice congruously with the music. At times, it shouldn't work on paper, such as with second track 'Sleep', where frantically syncopated breakbeats are ostensibly at odds with the more tranquil, balladic qualities of the music and singing. Frusciante, somehow, makes it all work so well, and it's the disparate qualities of his layered fusion that make it a most interesting listen. It's such an approach that also gives the music more overall depth, and will perhaps engender different moods through the listening experience with each subsequent listen. Music with polysonic potential, if you will.
'Enclosure' won't be for everyone, particularly those expecting a more rock-oriented record. However, if you're willing to invest a degree of time and patience in Frusciante's latest, then you might just be rewarded with the same emotionally stirring experience that I've experienced. It's also worth mentioning that this is a solo album in the truest sense as the ex-Chili Pepper is something of a sonic auteur; writing, performing and producing all music by himself. Wholly autonomous albums this good are a rare breed, so kudos to the man for this too.
Review by Mark Holmes
28th April 2014
1) Shining Desert
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...predominantly a mood-driven album, and one where its changing emotional states have been skilfully crafted by a man who evidently knows how to efficaciously use the tools with which he's equipped himself. "