Published Apr 02, 2015John Frusciante's initial solo releases, dating back to the early '90s, were often eclipsed by a number of factors that had no relation to the musician and his work; the drama of Frusciante's struggles with substance abuse and his association with one of the biggest bands in the world at the time (Red Hot Chili Peppers) distracted from his artistic output and intentions. It didn't help that he spoke openly of being a junkie and professed that he had simply recorded his second solo album Smile From The Streets You Hold in order to earn "drug money." However, once Frusciante kicked his various habits in 1997, his solo output explored a variety of avenues with an enduring proclivity for experimentation. Trickfinger is Frusciante's latest solo incarnation, and it explores his longstanding appreciation for retro synthesizer and sample-based music.
Trickfinger is an acid house album, but it's not a frivolous kitschy exploration by a dilettante; rather, it's the product of an artist's ambition to create electronic music in a genuine, invested way. Frusciante spent months learning how to play various synthesizers and programmable instruments before he recorded a single note. The result is a fun, engaging album with complex, weaving, synth-based hooks that are often played in a similar style to Frusciante's guitar playing. The various sounds that define the sonic aesthetic of this album tend to establish a middle ground between organic and synthetic sounds.
What comes through above all in these compositions is that Frusciante is having fun, which is best evidenced on the closing track "Phurip," and that he saves the strongest track for last gives the rest of the album a pleasing tension that is rewarded at the end. Fans of Frusciante's solo career will love this latest addition to his catalogue; it's one of his strongest releases to date. (Acid Test)