Pillbox

Paperhouse

For you polytheistic hermaphroditic dancing queens, I have an album that will have you glued to your seat and catapulting through the celestial realms within the glimmering embers of your memories: The Empyrean by John Frusciante. (Yes, the guitarist for the Chili Peppers.)

The empyrean is that realm that you touch when consciously entering a state of calm bliss, when you glide and realize infinitely scattered shimmering centrality inherent in the universe. In terms of history, the Empyrean was used as a name for the firmament — and in Christian literature, notably the Divine Comedy, for the dwelling-place of God — the blessed, celestial beings so divine they are made of pure light, as the source of light and creation.

This album is about swelling and bursting — the painful birth of a cosmos and its awareness. Replete with Frusciante’s vocals, mind-bending guitar solos, string arrangements, whispering atmospherics, empassioned funk rhythm, and spot-on organs, this album is a gushing testament to the beauty of passion and contemplation. On this record, Frusciante’s lyrics vault about and are oftentimes abstractedly cryptic, but given his previous work, it’s clear that this album has been in Frusciante’s bloodstream for a while — he is working within his standard cosmology. Love, God, time, the self, determinism, loneliness, pain, obsession, creation: They’re all here.

If you’re interested in big names, the record features an array of collaborators and guest musicians, including Frusciante’s former bandmate Flea and friends Josh Klinghoffer and Johnny Marr, the former Smiths guitarist. There you have it. This is a big deal. For a rip-roaring good time, put on the song “Central.” It’s two-thirds of the way through the album and is at the heart-wrenching apex of this album.

Hugs and kisses,

Juan Fernandez