Guitarist John Frusciante quit Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2008 to make solo synthpop music at home.
Not a whole lot has been heard from him since.
In July, however, he told me about "the funnest musical collaboration I've ever had with anybody in my life" -- producing the forthcoming hip-hop album with Black Knights, an L.A.-based Wu-Tang Clan affiliate.
It's now got a release date, West Coast Sound can exclusively reveal.
The album is called Medieval Chamber, and it's due out January 14, 2014. The work features the group's rappers, Rugged Monk and Crisis Tha Sharpshooter.
"Due to technology, we have a musical relationship in which nobody tells anybody what to do, nobody restricts anybody, nobody argues with anybody," Frusciante said. "We all want to hear the same record, is how I think of it."
After going solo Frusciante, long hailed as one of rock music's most inventive guitarists, acquired a synthesizer and drum machines, and made a string of experimental electronic albums for the L.A.-based indie label Record Collection.
He met the two rappers last year through a mutual friend, the Wu-Tang's RZA, who had discovered Black Knights in the late '90s. Medieval Chamber -- also for Record Collection -- pairs their aggressive, rapid flow with Frusciante's rat-a-tat-tat beats and synthesized hooks.
Known for his harmonizing with Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis, Frusciante lends his vocal on two songs here, which sweetens the group's hard rhymes and his samples of gunfire and vintage-film bad-guy dialogue.
Medieval Chamber reflects yet another transition for Frusciante. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member recently said that he identifies more with classical composers than with rock stars; this Black Knights project is his return to collaborative music.
"The rules of hip-hop are really pleasing for me," he said, "and they allow me to be completely free."
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