The Empyrean

The Empyrean

by John Frusciante


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After lying low for a few years after a tremendous burst of activity in 2004, John Frusciante is back with another solo album, Empyrean. It starts out with a fantastic instrumental called "Before the Beginning": a great minor key guitar solo, replete with echoplexed drums that was surely inspired by "Maggot Brain." After that, it's back to the kind of introspective songs that have characterized much of his solo work. His singing is actually pretty remarkable considering his initial forays into vocals. He sounds confident and assured, even as the subject matter wrestles with dark thoughts and doubt. The songs tend to be fairly spare with guitar, electric piano, bass and drums with strings adding some lushness towards the end. Frusciante also uses the studio as an instrument à la Eno, adding cool treatments to nearly every song. Some of the songs are a bit mopey and the subject matter is often on the heavy end, but "Dark/Light" shifts gears nicely (dark to light?) where the heavy reverb and piano of "Dark" gives way to the cheesy rhythm box and falsetto vocals of "Light," which leads into a nice bass-driven coda with choir. "Enough of Me" also features Johnny Marr on guitar, and one of them turns in a really nice Robert Fripp guitar solo. "One More of Me" is just strings and electric piano with Frusciante seemingly trying to sound like Stephin Merritt. Frusciante has done a nice job of carving an identity completely separate from his main gig, and Empyrean fits nicely with his other solo albums.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/27/2009
Label: Record Collection
UPC: 0811481011184
catalogNumber: 101118

Album Credits

Performance Credits

John Frusciante   Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Piano,Vocals
Sharon Bryant   Track Performer
Flea   Bass
Johnny Marr   Guitar
Alfie Silas   Track Performer
Donald Taylor   Vocals,Track Performer
Pat Lee   Track Performer
Tracy Carter   Track Performer
Tony Wilkins   Track Performer
Caroline Campbell   Violin
James Freebarin-Smith   Cello
Josh Klinghoffer   Organ,Synthesizer,Piano,Drums,Electric Piano,Background Vocals
Lawrence Yurong   Vocals
Andrew Duckles   Viola
Neel Hammond   Violin
Nita Hutton   Track Performer
Nikki Erwin   Track Performer
Tamara Mitchell   Track Performer
Caprisha Smyles   Track Performer
Donald Taylor and the New Dimension Singers   Voices
Lawrence Young   Vocals,Track Performer
Sonus Quartet   Strings
New Dimension Singers   Vocals

Technical Credits

Tim Buckley   Composer
John Frusciante   Composer,Producer,drum machine,Audio Production
Donald Taylor   Director
Ryan Hewitt   Engineer
James Freebarin-Smith   String Arrangements
Geoffrey Gallegos   String Arrangements
Neel Hammond   Arranger
Dave Lee   Instrument Technician
Adam Samuels   Engineer
Vanessa Freebairn-Smith   Arranger
Geoff Gallegof   Arranger
Sarah Sitkin   Cover Art

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The Empyrean 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This, by far, is my favorite album by John Frusciante and I don't even own it yet (working on the order...BestBuy kept me waiting for like a month on backorder)!! I suggest it on road trips because most of the songs are pretty long and you don't have to change it for almost an hour. I just love how much soul and love he puts into his music. Original and inspiring. Thanks, John :)
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