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Baker's Dozen

The Centre Of Everything: John Frusciante's Favourite Electronic Music
Brian Coney , September 23rd, 2020 08:56

Electronic music isn't some casual fling for the Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist. From synth-pop and ghetto house, to old-school UK rave and hardcore, it's long been a major preoccupation. As he prepares to release his thrilling, jungle-inspired new LP Maya, he guides Brian Coney through 13 indispensable titles from his collection

Talk of the Second Coming of John Frusciante is far from new. Following the release of Red Hot Chili Peppers' critically-devoured Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Frusciante left the band only to be brought to the brink by an extended period of reclusive drug addiction. His subsequent resurgence was full testament to the power of mining one's soul via music for recovery.

While it may not have been glaringly obvious to everyone, Frusciante embarked on the most fascinating chapter of his career to date when he parted the Red Hot Chili Peppers for a second time - on good terms - back in 2009. It freed up the time and headspace to pursue a fixation that was swiftly taking centre-stage: electronic music. 11 years and a handful of solid releases under his Trickfinger alias later, Frusciante's new album Maya is a rapturous, wonderfully shapeshifting release underscoring his status as an electronic music-maker in his own right.

Released via close friend and collaborator Aaron Funk's (AKA Venetian Snares) Timesig label Maya is a two-pronged tribute to early '90s UK breakbeat hardcore and jungle, and named for his late cat, a furry "fellow traveller" in his otherwise solitary music-making sessions. As his choices here attest, it's been a calling that weaves quite a through-line via many personal epiphanies: discovering British synth-pop, dancing in LA clubs to all hours, having his mind blown wide open by Venetian Snares at Autechre's ATP in 2003, later spending countless hours collaborating with Aaron Funk, building a sizeable jungle collection, and beyond.

Though he's back playing guitar with one of the biggest rock bands in the world, Frusciante's solo work remains a priority. "I would have never rejoined Red Hot Chili Peppers if I had thought that meant that I was going to stop doing electronic music," he says. "I'm in the band and we are writing a record, but it's a very relaxed schedule. It always has been." Releasing Maya under his own name, then, is something of a timely reveal. "Back in the day, while I was into this stuff I sort of kept it to myself, because it didn't seem relevant to the band's audience," he adds. "But it's been the centre of everything that I've done with the Chili Peppers since 1998, despite the fact I didn't say anything about it. It's nice to be able to share this with those people who my music means something to."

Maya is released via Timesig on October 23, 2020. Click the picture of Frusciante below to begin reading his Baker's Dozen selections