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|Format||Vinyl LP (Album)|
|Catalog Number||RCM 71201|
|Anyone following the warped path of John Frusciante's solo music can tell you that all bets are off when trying to determine its motivations, process, or intent. Since the mid-'90s, the recordings Frusciante made while moonlighting from his main gig as guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers have always been obtuse, confusing affairs, ranging from early dazed singer/songwriter outsider sounds to a series of EPs and mini-albums in the early 2010s that incorporated twisted electronic elements into their sliced-and-diced take on pop tracks. Outsides, yet another EP in line with its predecessors, takes another odd turn, offering just three almost completely instrumental tracks, each harder to pin down than the last. Acting almost more like a "maxi-single," the EP centers around opening track "Same," a ten-minute guitar solo with live drums and pads of various synths backing up the meandering exploration through various changes in key and effects processing. This is a little too scattered and the backing instrumentation a bit too jarring to hit the heights of something like Funkadelic's similarly epic "Maggot Brain," but through Frusciante's weird lens, it comes close. The remaining tracks, while shorter, veer into much stranger waters. "Breathiac" takes on an almost musique concr te feel, meshing cinematic strings, dubby vocal samples, and malfunctioning drum machine sounds into an extremely fragmented collage. The experiments with both tape and arrangements for woodwinds give way to a gurgling acid house bassline as the song wraps up, effectively imagining a collaboration between Aphex Twin and Stockhausen. The final track, "Shelf," is much the same, with more moments of rhythmic cohesion and an icy synth melody that recalls the earliest Squarepusher albums. Outsides is yet another strange installment in Frusciante's unabashedly weird and sometimes uncomfortably naked evolution as a solo artist. His dabbling with electronic music makes as little sense as any of his other abstract styles, but there's something undeniable about it in its honesty and raw presentation. Again Frusciante succeeds in making music caught between extremely deliberate tendencies and total randomness. ~ Fred Thomas, Rovi|
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