John Frusciante calls Sphere in the Heart of Silence, his collaboration with Josh Klinghoffer, "a record of electronic music," but it's not nearly as "electronic" as that statement makes it sound. It's really more an allusion to the fact that his other releases of this year have been mostly comprised of guitar, bass and drums, and that there is some programming, synth-work and overdubbing on this one. "Sphere" starts out like a cross between an organ fugue with sci-fi effects on top and sped-up Frippertronics. After about four minutes and a rough edit, beats come in along with a guitar solo each from Frusciante and Klinghoffer. "Afterglow" was written and performed by Klinghoffer, with Frusciante contributing only lyrics and vocals, and sounds reminiscent of early New Order. "Walls" has a more robotic feel and some strong vocals by Frusciante, with some "Planet Rock" influence towards the end. "Communique" was recorded in real time with Klinghoffer singing and playing piano while Frusciante adds winds sounds with a synth. Both singers have sort of a wailing, cathartic vocal style, which might become a bit much for some listeners by the end of the album. "Surrogate People" adds a bit of acoustic guitar to the mix, and the album closes with a brief track of just piano and vocals by Frusciante. Some of these tracks were written around the time of Shadows Collide With People, and others were written for specific performances, so the album feels more like a series of experiments rather than a cohesive album. Still, you've got to give Frusciante credit, as this is his sixth release of 2004, and they've all had some strong moments.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Sean Westergaard