His recent departure from the Red Hot Chili Peppers has come to eclipse his latest music updates. However, in November Josh Klinghoffer released one of the most beautiful albums of late 2019 with To Be One With You. We hope this new album opens one of the most exciting chapters of his career, now under the pseudonym Pluralone.
During the decade he spent alongside the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Josh Klinghoffer has rubbed shoulders with the stars. This is quite paradoxical for a man who is used to work in the shadows and who prefers to dedicate his talent and creativity to other projects rather than highlighting his own ones. With Gnarls Barkley, John Frusciante, PJ Harvey or Beck, there is a long list of artists who worked with him to benefit from his skilfulness in studio or on stage. There were indeed some discs with Dot Hacker – his long-time group – but their discreet beauty never truly went beyond American frontiers. Since then, the two albums recorded with one of the biggest rock band of all time have largely helped to bring him out of a relative yet comfortable anonymity.
Therefore, – and possibly in order to return to a position that suits him better – Josh Klinghoffer has created an alias. Pluralone. Plural-one. A name with strange consonances. Plur-alone. This name has the advantage to banish the frenetic passion around his rockstar status and to focus on the essentials: music. And most importantly, this name enables him to juggle the different musical identities that live within him without having to consider genra or style labels. He has already set the tone when he released two covers of Italian and Brazilian classics – songs that he used to play during his shows with the Red Hot Chili Peppers – under that very name.
Nonetheless, let’s face it: there is no need to look for a prolongation of Josh’s work with the band into Pluralone. Far from tailor-made productions for stadiums, explosive shows and frenzy crowds, he took the liberty of doing an album in his own image: humble, pure, brilliant. His work scatters light without ever denying its darkness. Composed over a decade – Segue is from 2010 while Crawl was finished the night before the record in Autumn 2018 – To Be One With You is an outstandingly personal and deeply introspective disc as moving as it is disconcerting. From the beginning, it stands out with its characteristic rhythmic signatures, its volatile textures, its evanescent singing and its lack of structure. Indeed, no hit nor catchy chorus are to be found. On the contrary, each piece of this album asks to be tamed, to grow up in each one of us, to be listened to again and again to reveal their subtility like a secret whispered into your ear. Let that be clear : it is worthwile.
To Be One With You se déroule comme une remarquable collection d’émotions, du bonheur éclatant à la profonde mélancolie. Le plus troublant, c’est que chacun de ses titres semble porter en lui cette étonnante ambivalence qui lui permet d’être écouté dans n’importe quelle situation et de lui faire écho, pour peu qu’on lui prête l’attention et l’humilité qu’il mérite.
Pluralone is a talented multi-instrumentalist who is completely comfortable when it comes to the creation of rich and complex atmospheres. Yet, he cannot be more touching than when he lays himself bare and accompanies his voice with piano notes only. Just this once, his talented colleagues played along and became his collaborators. Thus, Flea plays the bass on Was Never There, Jack Irons plays the drums on most pieces, Eric Gardner and Eric Avery play the drums and the bass on Crawl. In spite of this 5-star casting, Fall from Grace and Save are the pure softness jewels that establish the genuine moments of grace of the album. Klinghoffer’s androgynous voice creates splendid take-offs which offer to words strange and almost supernatural tones coming directly from unknown lands.
More cadenced songs such as Shade, Crawl or Barrelling are evidences of Pluralone’s ability to raise his voice when his rock influences show up through a guitar solo or rumbling drums. Of course, his singular way of singing remains the major attraction of the album as it sculpts every sound by opting for tones rather than enunciation – especially on Save or The Ride and its sublime modulations. That being said, we also let ourselves be carried along by the instrumental parts – sometimes full of energy, sometimes tinged with an almost mystical sensuality – which remind us what an utter artist Pluralone is.
With his first solo album, Josh Klinghoffer finally emerges from the shadows to fully embrace his extraordinary musical talent and proves at the same time that he is far from being only a foist. As the journey continues with the opening act of Pearl Jam’s American tour, we truly hope that it will lead him on our way. It would be so great…
Translation : Claire Pinault
Pratiquant assidu du headbang nonchalant en milieu festif. Je dégaine mon stylo entre deux mouvements de tête.