One Track Mind: John Frusciante, “Scratch” from Enclosure (2014)

If “Scratch” is any indication, and the guitarist is already saying it is, John Frusciante’s forthcoming studio project will represent a furiously inventive encapsulation of everything he’s has done so far — both with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and as a fantastically unpredictable solo artist.

The track begins with a Chili Pepper-esque shambolic groove, before Frusciante begins vigorously stirring the pot. First, there are his own conversational vocals, dark and full of monotone portent, and then — more engagingly still — a series of scronky add ons. Soon, the track has been engulfed in a whirl of sound, including backward beats, keyboard splashes, apocalypto samples, other perfectly weird shit. And yet, his distinctive guitar — familiar, anthemic, like a bolt out of the blue — manages to elbow its way out.

In the end, Frusciante has created a brilliantly layered outburst, something approaching collage. You hear souvenir bits of his past, post-it notes featuring more recent experiments, odd swatches of debris from along the way. “Scratch” is the sound of someone who’s torn all of the rules shreds, and then decided to create using the remains.

Written during the sessions for 2009′s Empyrean, “Scratch” was said to be the first song recorded for Frusciante’s new album. Enclosure, the follow up to the 2013 EP Outsides, is due April 8, 2014 via Record Collection. Frusciante also just completed Hiding In The Light, the debut of his Kimono Kult experimental group with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of the Mars Volta.

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Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.