One of my friends whose taste in music I share and trust continually insists that John Frusciante is, if not a genius, an artist worth recognition and respect. Thinking back to my earlier alt-rock days of listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I realized that the idea of revisiting these moments didn’t necessarily sound appealing. There were, however, two factors that pushed me to give Sphere a chance. First, John Frusciante is one of the most prolific artists out there today, this being something like his sixth album of 2004. Secondly, Frusciante was chosen by Vincent Gallo to write the soundtrack for Gallo’s latest romantic comedy, The Brown Bunny (and even though Gallo didn’t end up using any of the songs, that’s still an honour, right?) Keeping in mind that Sphere isn’t just Frusciante on his own, but also features the electronic artist Josh Klinghoffer, I approached the album with a bit of caution (oh, and I also tried to forget the comment that Sphere was Frusciante’s Kid A). Though I would like to see more experimentation still (beyond the pretty standard electro-beats offered), Frusciante’s strength is prevalent in his own individual and recognizable style. This isn’t the most intellectually challenging rock/electronic album out there, but it’s not weak either, and there’s a lot of variety for such a prolific composer. While it’s still commercial enough sounding to attract adventurous RHCP fans, Sphere is also just strange enough to raise some other eyebrows as well.