John Frusciante's Electronic Music Studio Is a Gearhead's Paradise

The former Red Hot Chili Pepper's guitarist is dropping an EP of electronic music later this month.

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Apr 2 2016, 5:57pm

Red Hot Chili Peppers's former guitarist John Frusciante is about to drop an EP of electronic music written with an armada of vintage electronic music equipment. The musician has been making anti-commercial electronic music for a few years now, and in case anyone doubted that the man who penned the riff to "Californication" has the tools necessary to produce some serious synthesized work, he posted pictures of his studio to Facebook that will almost surely quell any dubiousness.

The photos below would make any gearhead Google alert "John Frusciante" and "Garage Sale." There are synthesizers up the wazoo, including six MC-202s and pretty much every Roland TR-model drum machine, including what appears to be pristine TR-808. His modular synth, built by his bandmate Chris McDonald, is alone a sight to behold, assembled almost shrine-like to the gods of electronic music, such as the late Keith Emerson who turned the modular from studio curiosity to performance weapon.These photos, as Frusciante explains, are a couple of years old, with the studio having evolved since.

As Frusciante explains on the post, the forthcoming four-track Foregrow EP was initially recorded back in 2009 when, he states, he was beginning to really explore his gear. "This was the period when I started recording my machines and synths onto a computer, using the program Renoise." he writes. "There is no stylistic genre which this music fits into. I was just pushing my machines really hard, and constantly trying things which I had never done before. I would just describe it as adventurous electronic music."

He then cites a laundry list of influences including Venetian Snares, AFX, Squarepusher, Gescom, DMX Crew, The Railway Raver, Ceephax Acid Crew, Luke Vibert, and Autechre among others.

In the comments section of the post, Frusciante provides a 700-word explanation on how he created Foregrow, what machines he used, and some background context for some of the sounds he was interested in. For example: "The EP opens with a song called "Foregrow," and this is the only tune on which I sing. The lyrics concern a vivid pre-life memory, in which I was a section of outer space. I used a midi guitar to play a DX7 synthesizer, in order to make these kinds of falling and whooshing sounds, by bending strings in a way that a person could never use a mod wheel or pitch bender. The sound of the guitar itself was never recorded and is therefore inaudible."

For another track, Frusciante explained just why he owns six MC-202s: "There's a hell of a lot of 202s in this track, including one section which sounds like someone playing a Wurlitzer electric piano but is actually six 202s programmed to sound like a guy playing keyboards."

SInce leaving RHCP, Frusciante's output has primarily been in the experimental electronic vein. He posts regularly to his Soundcloud, and the official release of the Foregrow EP will be out on Record Store Day (April 16) on Acid Test / Absurd Recordings. In the meantime, listen to his previously released Renoise EP below.