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The Empyrean is the eighth solo album by John Frusciante, released worldwide on January 20, 2009 through Record Collection. Frusciante did not plan on a following tour, as he instead wanted to focus on writing and recording. The Empyrean peaked at number 151 on the US Billboard 200 as well as number seven on the Top Heatseekers.[9] On release it made number 105 on the UK Albums Chart.

The Empyrean
John Frusciante - The Empyrean.jpg
Studio album by John Frusciante solo
Released January 20, 2009
Recorded December 2006–March 2008
Genre Experimental rock, psychedelic rock, post-rock
Length 54:02
62:14 (Japanese release)
Label Record Collection
Producer John Frusciante
John Frusciante solo chronology
Curtains
(2005)Curtains2005
The Empyrean
(2009)
Letur-Lefr
(2012)Letur-Lefr2012
John Frusciante chronology
AW II
(2007) AW II2007
The Empyrean
(2009) The Empyrean2009
Omar Rodriguez Lopez & John Frusciante
(2010) Omar Rodriguez Lopez & John Frusciante2010
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic69/100[1]
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic3.5/5 stars [2]
Alternative Press4/5 stars
Antiquiet4/5 stars [3]
Now Magazine4/5 stars [4]
The Observer4/5 stars [5]
Spin(Positive) [6]
Sputnikmusic3.5/5 stars [7]
Ultimate Guitar(9/10) [8]

Frusciante asserts that the record "was recorded on and off between December 2006 and March 2008," and is a concept album that tells "a single story both musically and lyrically."[10] The Empyrean contains a version of Tim Buckley's "Song to the Siren", from his 1970 album Starsailor. The record also features an array of collaborators and guest musicians, including Frusciante's former bandmate Flea, and friends Josh Klinghoffer and former The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. Due to an error at the duplication plant, the United States CD release date was delayed until January 27.[11] On June 2, 2010, a new bonus track, Here, Air, was added to the album, freely available at John's website.

On December 11, 2012, Record Collection re-issued various John Frusciante albums released from 2004 to 2009, including The Empyrean. These re-issued albums are available on 180 gram limited edition vinyl. Each LP also comes with a download card for your choice of MP3 or WAV file.[12] The Empyrean was one of the most sought after John Frusciante LPs from the 2012 catalog reissue. According to John Frusciante's official website, the pre-order of the limited edition vinyl was sold out as of November 24, 2012; therefore, making it the first from the limited catalog reissue to do so. Additional stock of recording would be available in 2013.[13]

A song which was written during The Empyrean sessions, "Scratch", was released as a free download on February 18, 2014 as an introductory track to the full-length record Enclosure released April 8, 2014.

At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 69, based on 8 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews."[14]

Contents

Album ArtworkEdit

Physically, the artwork is a photograph of prints arranged to form a collage. The upper left region of the image contains various references to the natural world, such as the multiple images of green leaved trees and several superimposed images of mountains. Considering John's philosophy on life, it is plausible to draw that this arrangement is a reference to the Tree of life.

In the lower left corner, the presence of tree roots and semi-transparent fallen leaves reinforces the idea of the Tree of life.

Josh Klinghoffer, John's personal friend (whom he has collaborated with previously, as well as on The Empyrean) is pictured laying next to a skull, and connected to the angelic figure of John. This is a reference to death and rebirth, which is confirmed through John's blog posts. The two figures are connected through means of a rope or string. Considering the religious themes of the album (song titles "God" and "Heaven" are present on the album), it is plausible to draw the conclusion that this is a reference to God and Jesus. However John's figure could be interpreted as being Dante's Satan due to the similarity between the multiple pairs of wings and heads.

The helical staircase leading from the dead figure's resting place signifies rebirth and improvement until it reaches the highest point in heaven. The palace above the clouds is the representation John chooses to take of this concept. The album artwork is representative of the musical content of the album. This is reinforced through John's content in his blog posts.

Track listingEdit

All tracks written by John Frusciante, unless otherwise noted.

No.TitleLength
1."Before the Beginning"9:09
2."Song to the Siren" (Tim Buckley, Larry Beckett)3:33
3."Unreachable"6:10
4."God"3:23
5."Dark/Light"8:30
6."Heaven"4:03
7."Enough of Me"4:14
8."Central"7:16
9."One More of Me"4:06
10."After the Ending"3:38
Bonus tracks
No.TitleLength
11."Today" (Japanese release only)4:38
12."Ah Yom" (US iTunes Store and Japanese release only)3:17
13."Here, Air" (free download)3:47

PersonnelEdit

Production
  • Ryan Hewitt – recording engineer
  • Adam Samuels – recording engineer
  • Dave Lee – instrument tech
  • Sarah Sitkin – cover art
  • Anthony Zamora – production coordination

ChartsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The Empyrean Reviews". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2016-12-18. 
  2. ^ Westergaard, Sean. The Empyrean at AllMusic
  3. ^ Johnny Firecloud. "Finding God With John Frusciante". Antiquiet. 
  4. ^ Bryan Borzykowski. "Disc Review". Now Magazine. 
  5. ^ Chris Campion (January 16, 2009). "John Frusciante, The Empyrean Review". London: The Observer. 
  6. ^ Shannon Zimmerman. "The Empyrean Review". Spin Magazine. 
  7. ^ Jared W. Dillon. "John Frusciante The Empyrean". Sputnik Music. 
  8. ^ UGTeam. "The Empyrean Review". Ultimate Guitar. 
  9. ^ "The Empyrean Charting Information". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-01-31. [dead link]
  10. ^ "John Frusciante to release The Empyrean on Record Collection 1.20.2009". RedHotChiliPeppers.com. November 12, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  11. ^ "The Empyrean Physical Release Delayed to January 27th". Redhotchilipeppers.com. January 13, 2009. Archived from the original on August 28, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  12. ^ "Limited Edition Catalog Reissues". johnfrusciante.com. Retrieved 2012-11-12. 
  13. ^ "Limited Edition Catalog Reissues Store". johnfrusciante.com. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  14. ^ "The Empyrean Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  15. ^ a b "Johj Frusciante - The Empyrean (Album)". Swiss Charts. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  16. ^ "CHART: CLUK Update 7.02.2009 (wk5)". Zobbel. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  17. ^ "Billboard Discography - John Frusciante - The Empyrean chart positions". Billboard.