John Frusciante: PBX Funicular Intaglio Zone
Don’t expect anything from John Frusciante that makes sense on PBX. This former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitar virtuoso could say something with a single note, like David Gilmour from Pink Floyd. Safe to say that Frusciante understands everything about the guitar and knows how to employ it well. Again, don’t expect that Frusciante to make an appearance on PBX.
Instead we have something borrowed from EDM and progressive rock with a little bit of sampling the way that underground hip hop has employed so well. Each song is a landscape with an epic climb toward a rock anthem pinnacle. “Bike” has aggressive vocals that pound along with the electronic blips and the heavy instrumentation. The successful songs are other worldly and contain only cryptic voice sounds. “Guitar,” which is a rapid key solo, a guitar distorted and altered to the point of insanity, (only marred by the inclusion of dub step sounds) shines amidst the energetic tracks.
There are sweeping musical pieces on PBX that work with emotion and energy. Some of them are light hearted jaunts with optimistic feelings (“Mistakes”), while others are just forces moving forward, carrying the tune along to a darker place (“Sam,” which is itself an abstract drum and electronic mess).
PBX is an artist’s experiment into different forms and functions. There are heavy metal elements distorted through EDM, and 16-bit classics fit for video games, or an accompaniment to surreal and adult animation. It hits where it needs to and remains the unexpected. There are some guitar elements to be found, but don’t come to PBX if you want RHCP or Frusciante to solo over everything.