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Buckethead

Discussion in 'Music Discussion' started by CriedWhenBrucieLeft, Aug 20, 2015.

  1. CriedWhenBrucieLeft

    CriedWhenBrucieLeft Ancient Mariner

    Mosh's reviews so far...
     
    Mosh and Forostar like this.
  2. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    I haven't really organized anything yet. Still thinking of ways to approach that.
     
  3. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    Population Override
    The wikipedia description on this one sounds interesting.
    Population Override is the twelfth studio album by Buckethead, but it could be seen as his first full collaboration with keyboardist Travis Dickerson. The album is a tribute to the "great vinyl records of the '60s and '70s",[2] with songs more often than not drifting off into long jams.


    “ Almost all the music is just us communicating as we play. The songs started as a riff that either I or Bucket would start playing and then we would all go from there. On some of the tracks we worked out some cord [sic] changes but a lot of them were just made up as we went. We worked out a lot of stuff as overdubs and that helped give it structure. (...) We recorded the little guitar snippets just for what they were used for, track segues. ”

    I like hearing Buckethead collaborate with other musicians. Love hearing a group of competent musicians jamming. Also the heavy presence of a synthesizer player is new. High hopes for this one!

    Favorite Songs
    Unrestrained Growth - This is already off to a great start. Love the synth playing. I'm impressed with Dickerson's ability to play synth both as a lead and a support instrument. Most keyboard players usually switch to an organ or electric keyboard when they aren't in the lead, hearing a synth complement the lead is really unusual but it works here. Anyway, this tune fits exactly what I imagined based on the wikipedia description. If this is indicative of the whole album, this might be even better than the previous one.

    Too Many Humans - Wow. Really tasty guitar playing here. The keyboards are such a nice touch. An added texture we haven't really heard with Buckethead before. Some of Buckethead's most emotive playing I've heard so far too. The keyboards really build up nicely. Starting with organ and electric keyboards before exploding into some screaming synth leads. I also really dig the drum work. This is probably the most interactive group I've heard on a Buckethead album. Sounds like a true collaboration rather than Buckethead and a backing group.

    Population Override - This one has a groovy start before going into something more sublime. The guitar harmonizing with the keyboards on the main theme is a cool touch. Love the sudden tempo and feel changes outlined by the drums. Very abrupt changes from funky to majestic. But it feels seamless at the same time. Some nice unexpected weirdness at the end.

    A Day Will Come - This one is pretty heavy but without losing the 70s tribute concept. Who knew a synth odyssey under crushing metal riffs would blend so well? Love the interaction between guitar and keyboards on those fast runs.

    Clones - I like the exotic feel to this one and the high pitched synth sounds.

    Super Human - Nice mellow tune to wrap things up.

    The verdict
    Another great album from Bucket. Even better than the last one. I was not expecting it to be this good, but it might be my favorite of them all so far. Once again, it's nothing but good music. No filler tracks here. Just an hour of great playing from 3 solid musicians. I was actually reminded of Hot Rats by Frank Zappa listening to this, which is considered a landmark album of his by most fans. That's another album that is largely made up of long jams. But there are some moments that are clearly composed, just like on here. This comparison also made me realize one difference between Zappa and Buckethead: With Zappa the musicians behind him were just as important. That is rarely the case with Buckethead, but it happens on this album and I think it's better for it. I look forward to more collaborative albums in the future. I know there are at least a few.

    The one flaw with this album is the track order. The final three songs feel almost tacked on when they could've actually broken up the longer jams a little bit. I'm thinking something like this would be better:
    Unrestrained Growth
    ...
    Too Many Humans
    Super Human
    Population Override
    Humans Vanish
    Cruel Reality of Nature
    Earth Heals Herself
    Clones
    A Day Will Come

    Or something else in that vein.

    Anyway, fantastic album. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys great improvisational music. You also actually hear a pretty strong jazz fusion influence, though more from Dickerson than Buckethead. But it's a new color added to the palette. The songs are all in a similar style, but that's the case for most Buckethead albums anyway. If you enjoy the first song, you'll probably like the whole thing. I was personally blown away. Definitely revisiting this one in the future.

    Opeth take notes. This is how you pay homage to the 70s.

    9/10
     
    CriedWhenBrucieLeft likes this.
  4. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    You've got another coming. ;)
     
  5. CriedWhenBrucieLeft

    CriedWhenBrucieLeft Ancient Mariner

    Although listed on Wiki as a "Buckethead" album (& released as such) this should, I think, be regarded as a full collaboration with Dickerson, as Wiki suggests. Unfortunetly for you Mosh, you're not going to find any other Buckethead solo albums that sound like this. Lots of albums came out of these sessions though & it would be worth exploring them if you like this style/sound: Chicken Noodles, Chicken Noodles II, Iconography, Left Hanging, Gorgone, & The Dragons of Eden; and the four Thanatopsis albums, Thanatopsis, Axiology, Anatomize, & Requiem. (Wait, did I just recommend you listen to another ten albums?!) If you want to dip into any of them I'd listen to the first Thanatopsis album, that's pretty damn good --it explores what you mentioned above: a synth odyssey under crushing metal riffs...
    Exactly. The next album couldn't be more different. Brutal.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  6. CriedWhenBrucieLeft

    CriedWhenBrucieLeft Ancient Mariner

    Just to add, here's what Travis has up on his website at TDRS:
    There's also loads of backgroud information at TDRS in regard to all the sessions (& subsequent albums) I mentioned above:
     
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  7. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    :hello:
     
  8. CriedWhenBrucieLeft

    CriedWhenBrucieLeft Ancient Mariner

    No, not super amazing cool Travis!
     
  9. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    Well I mean within the albums, he usually sticks to one style throughout. But he does switch things up from album to album. I am somewhat familiar with the next one, as far as the sound and background goes. Looking forward to it!
     
  10. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    Will check out related stuff like Praxis and those other Travis Dickerson collaborations after I've covered the main Buckethead discography. :p
     
  11. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    I also meant within. I know several pikes in which he changes style.
     
  12. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    The Cuckoo Clocks of Hell
    I've heard of this one before. Knew a guy in school who was a huge Primus and Buckethead fan and cited this album a few times as an example of Buckethead's versatility. From what I've heard, this is his heaviest album and ventures into extreme metal. This also has Brain from Primus on drums, who I'm familiar with through the podcasts that Cried linked.

    Favorite Songs

    Descent of the Damned - This is heavy but still groovy. Love the dissonance. Some really insane shredding too.
    Spokes For the Wheel of Torment - The syncopated riffing here is very cool.
    Treeman - This one has some cool mood shifts. Having a live drummer to interact with really brings songs like this to life.
    One Tooth of the Time Train - More chaotic changes. Despite the songs all being in a similar style, they still remain unpredictable. That's impressive.
    Bedlam's Buff - Starting to introduce electronics in all this. Blends great.
    Beaten With Sledges - Wasn't expecting the clean guitar outro. Still dark and heavy without the distortion. The thrashy opening riffs were cool too.
    Yellowed Hide - Nice emphasis on the bass here. Missed his bass playing on previous albums.
    Haven of Tar Black Pitch - Love the groove at the end.
    The Escape Wheel - The majestic start to this is cool and I wasn't expecting the funky middle section. This whole tune reminds me of some of the stuff on Bucketheadland and Giant Robot.

    But I put every song on my playlist because they're all enjoyable. Yet another album with no filler to be found.

    The Verdict
    The streak continues! This must be Buckethead's golden age. I was surprised at how engaging this album was for its entirety. I expected this to be a mixture of good riffing and noisier less entertaining moments. I was also expecting to lose interest in the style eventually, but I enjoyed it to the very end. Buckethead is a great riff writer and a master at mixing brutality with grooves. There are showy guitar moments but they all fit the song. It never has the generic structure of "main theme riff/melody -> solo section -> repeat riff". The soloing is more integrated with the songs and is used tastefully. Great arrangements on this album. Also some unexpected moments of softness, but without losing this album's dark edge. Even at its heaviest, Bucket never loses his taste for awesome grooves and syncopated rhythms. The drumming from Brain is, as expected, incredible. So far it seems like Buckethead is at his best when working with a great drummer. I have to say I wasn't expecting to enjoy this album as much as I did. I also didn't expect it to have as much depth.

    8/10

    I've got high expectations for the next album. Really excited to hear Buckethead collaborate with some singers.
     
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  13. CriedWhenBrucieLeft

    CriedWhenBrucieLeft Ancient Mariner

    Last four albums have been given a Mosh 8-7-8-8 out of 10. No idea how that compares to anything else you review, but it sure looks good!
     
  14. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    Well when rating things I try not to compare it to anything other than the artist's other work. Favorite groups are generally held to higher standards. So a Buckethead album with a 9 isn't necessarily better than an Iron Maiden album with an 8, for example. But overall it's mostly just a rough gauge of my level of enjoyment.
     
  15. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    So, unfortunately, we do not know how much Mosh really likes these albums. The fate of relative ranking per artist. At least we know some sort of order of albums and after all this is a right topic for such an overview. But it would be even more interesting and insightful if Buckethead's work was placed in context of other (all) music.

    I know, I know, artists make different music. But, so does Buckethead, and in the end, no matter the artist, it comes down to a level of enjoyment. And that can be compared, and that decides the rating.

    If favourite groups have higher standards, then give higher ratings.

    What if a favourite record by a not very favourable artist would sound like an idiot barking into an occasionally flushing toilet, to give that a 10, because it is still more enjoyable than another of theirs with vocals that resemble a North Korean leader bleating among sick sheep. Now that would be ridiculous wouldn't it?
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
  16. CriedWhenBrucieLeft

    CriedWhenBrucieLeft Ancient Mariner

    I've said this before: I use a 5-star rating (since that's what WMP has); and it's not artist relative, it's for all music. As a consequence, and since I don't listen to very much (or rate) music that I don't like, my ratings for (say) Buckethead or Iron Maiden tend to be 3-star or greater. Within that rating I obviously have in mind a more nuanced rating (i.e. 3-star = 5-6/10; 4-star = 7-8/10; 5-star = 9-10/10) but this remains unrecorded; I tend to waver enough with certain types of music/tracks that I would find using a 10-star rating to be just too fine-tuned, too ephemeral a rating e.g. an 8-star would be a 7-star depending on my listening mood.

    1-star is unlistenable & practically without any merit.
    2-star is not enjoyable to listen to & has various serious problems.
    3-star is distinctly average/boring bordering on poor; certainly with faults I struggle to look past for an artist I like.
    4-star is good/enjoyable right up to VG, but still with something really special/magic missing.
    5-star is very enjoyable up to exceptional. It doesn't have to be a masterpiece.

    To be honest I just can't be bothered doing anything more detailed or complicated than this.
     
  17. CriedWhenBrucieLeft

    CriedWhenBrucieLeft Ancient Mariner

    Anyway, must surely be time for a live interval...

     
  18. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    Jordan is awesome, it's the song that introduced me to Buckethead. It's not on any of his main albums right?
     
  19. CriedWhenBrucieLeft

    CriedWhenBrucieLeft Ancient Mariner

    No, indeed. He recorded it for Guitar Hero II (see my interview link on pg. 1). in 2006. It then went on iTunes in 2009, Amazon etc later I guess. He used to play the opening/main riff live before he recorded it but never any solos (i.e. like in the clip posted above); my guess is he only wrote the solo section when he did the recording for Guitar Hero. Since then he's played the solo section live.

    It's a very iconic piece, very representative of his post-Guns phase I suppose.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
  20. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    OK I need to look at all of those interviews you linked. :p

    The main riff does have a similar feel to the GNR stuff, now that you mention it.
     

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