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

  1. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again


    Forostar Pike overview

    001-050 (have)
    Pike #008 Racks [2012]
    Pike #010 The Silent Picture Book [2012]
    Pike #011 Forgotten Library [2013]
    Pike #017 The Spirit Winds [2013]
    Pike #023 Telescape [2013]
    Pike #031 Pearson's Square [2013]
    Pike #038 It Smells Like Frogs [2013]
    Pike #039 Twisterlend [2013]
    Pike #042 Backwards Chimney [2014]
    Pike #044 You Can't Triple Stamp a Double Stamp [2014]
    Pike #045 The Coats of Claude [2014]
    Pike #049 Monument Valley [2014]

    001-050 (interested in)
    Pike #035 Thank You Ohlinger's [2013]
    Pike #036 Hollowed Out [2013]
    Pike #040 Coat of Charms [2013]

    051-072 (have)
    Pike #051 Claymation Courtyard [2014]
    Pike #065 Hold Me Forever (In memory of my mom Nancy York Carroll) [2014]

    051-072 (interested in)
    Pike #060 Footsteps [2014]
    Pike #064 Aquarium [2014]
    Pike #066 Leave the Light On [2014]
    Pike #071 Celery [2014]
    Pike #072 Closed Attractions [2014]

    073-beyond - I have 8 pikes (111, 216, 217, 224, 225, 231, 235 and 237). More acquisition: to be continued
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017
  2. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    Whole series is very strong so far. Was definitely not expecting this level of consistency. His release rate is starting to really pick up though, so we'll see how the quality changes. I actually think he could experiment a little more. He does a lot of different things on these Pikes already, but he could take it further. The thing I miss most with these Pikes is him collaborating with other musicians. Would be nice to have some occasional guest appearances. But no complaints about the music itself.

    I'm also enjoying these Pikes more than a lot of his pre-Pike albums. First of all, I think 30 minutes is a more palatable length for his music. Secondly, he seems more adventurous on these. There's more variety across, and sometimes even within, the different Pikes.
  3. CriedWhenBrucieLeft

    CriedWhenBrucieLeft Ancient Mariner

    I think as the Pikes progress a couple of things are noticeable: far less short standalone tracks & structured albums (if you like that kind of conformity, then this can be a little frustrating); longer improvised tracks (works really well in some respects, not so successful at other times); repetition of sound/tone (or rather, perhaps, a return to tone/production that isn't necessarily, in my opinion, that good sounding); chopping & changing of drum sound/production (Monti production vs. Buckethead production perhaps?); changing back-and-forth of production sound generally (as above; some material just sounds so poorly/basically recorded); more stripped-down tracks (i.e. no multiple, layered guitar parts); "collage" albums (you'll know what I mean by this when you get to them); experimentation with 7-string guitars (producing a very broody, gloom-leaden feel); more development of synth/keys as backing; some albums that really focus on a style of bass playing I haven't heard from Buckethead before; some really blues focused albums; some really Rock (i.e. AC/DC, Guns type punchy guitar tone) focused albums; random "noise" albums here & there; the Halloween Pikes & the culmination of his crazy release rate in 2015; and a real return to form, I think, post 2016 touring...

    Overall: the numbers keep on climbing (to #250+); the Pikes website hasn't changed; the format (half-hour) has stayed the same; the manner of release (Drawing editions, Signed editions, Digital release, promised Standard CD release) hasn't changed; the art-work has kept on as-is (apart from the recent couple of Pikes with some of his own paintings as covers); and the mystery & lack of how/why /insight remains.
    Forostar likes this.
  4. CriedWhenBrucieLeft

    CriedWhenBrucieLeft Ancient Mariner

    Forostar likes this.
  5. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    The title track is the opening track. But indeed, Mosh:

    (pike #12) is one of the biggest examples where I'm torn between Buckethead song and album.
    Such a good title track. The melodic parts in the last three minutes are beautiful. But the album contains a twelve(!) minute long track that I immensely dislike. Immensely. Therefore I could never enjoy the album. I don't like to listen to music when I can't stand it. Neither do I skip songs. So when something like this takes 12 minutes, go figure how interested I am in getting this. With this pike, Buckethead gave a master class: "How to destroy an album".
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  6. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Without a doubt, Racks (#8) is one of the two best pikes from the first ten imo, together with The Silent Picture Book (#10).
    These shorties are some of the best short Buckethead tracks. Like you, I felt some should have been longer, which means using on a different pike.

    2. Petal 25:03
    3. Frog Charmer 26:46
    Great vibe, especially Frog Charmer. This kind of tribal Buckethead music is rare. Haven't heard anything like it in the rest of his catalogue.

    Since a week I'm revisiting the 1-49 pikes to see if anything (r)evokes interest and until now March of the Slunks (#9) and View Master (#15) have done very well.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  7. CriedWhenBrucieLeft

    CriedWhenBrucieLeft Ancient Mariner

    But Launched is so bizarre & recorded-in-a-cupboard sounding. Who else would record this? It's so funny, I love it. And it amuses me even more that you don't like it! :lol:

    Bucket's just messing with you; throwing in crazy tracks, keeping you on your toes...
  8. CriedWhenBrucieLeft

    CriedWhenBrucieLeft Ancient Mariner

    Just bought Pikes #245 through to #251 in the sale. I have to say I'm really impressed with these; some really different stuff I haven't really heard from him before e.g. like the keys on Other Portals (#247); gorgeous stuff. Listened to Rivers in the Seas (Pike #247) and Adrift in Sleepwakefulness (Pike #248) earlier today. Damn this is good. This is some of the best production and most cohesive short songwriting I've heard from him since the early Pikes. Some of it's right back to that Sunbursts/The Patrolman feel; absolutely love this stuff. All of the heavy stuff recently has just been a bit dull/generic.
    Forostar likes this.
  9. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    It's back!

    Pike 49: Monument Valley - Some nice moody clean/acoustic guitar work on here. I really enjoy 2-3 long pieces as opposed to a handful of shorter ones. Lots of room for Buckethead to develop ideas.

    Pike 50: Pitch Dark - Similar format of long songs, although musically this album sets itself apart from the previous one. More involved soloing instead of hypnotic chord driven excursions. Even sonically, the album is completely different. The previous Pike felt very bass heavy and dark. This album is lighter with more high frequencies and more acoustic guitar rather than clean guitars. Small details that make a huge difference.

    Pike 51: Claymation Courtyard - Loved this one. It seems every few Pikes, Buckethead will deliver a really classic sounding album. Something reminiscent of Bucketheadland but with good production. This album really shows Buckethead's great melodic taste. This is what turned me on to his music in the first place. So many great riffs and melodies on this thing.

    Pike 52: Factory: This one is probably not for everyone, but I loved this Pike. I like when Buckethead gets a little weird and he does it well here. Nice mixture of electronics, guitar, and noise. Love the way the tracks flow into each other. But also there's a lot of variety here. There are some really heavy parts, some soft parts, some bluesy parts. It's schizophrenic but in a way that works. A nice slab of variety.

    Pike 53: City of Ferris Wheels - The downside to an album consisting primarily of one or two long songs is that if the main idea doesn't do anything for you, it's going to be a long listen. This was my experience with this album. I didn't really care for the muddy bass synth riff and the soloing didn't do much for me. The weird noises are fun but otherwise I found it to be pretty uninspired. Definitely seems like a "filler" album.

    Pike 54: The Frankensteins Monsters Blinds - Total opposite to the previous Pike. A much nicer funky riff and more energetic soloing. It's still a more traditional blues style which isn't my favorite side of Buckethead, but he does it well here.

    Pike 55: The Miskatonic Scale - This is another one I highly recommend. Been awhile since Buckethead gave himself a chance to really shred on one of these albums. He does it here in addition to delivering a set of face melting riffs. Some pretty proggy sounding riffs on this too. Lots of syncopated stuff. Also lots of musical ideas introduced early on and reprised later, showing at least some level of preplanning.

    Pike 56: Cycle: This one is very bass heavy. Lots of hypnotic grooves and drones. It's one of his more introspective albums and probably requires the right frame of mind to enjoy, but there are some very cool ideas here. Some really nice atmospheric stuff.

    Pike 57: Night Gallery - This one didn't do much for me. Lots of different ideas strung together arbitrarily that don't do much for me. Also a lot of noodling and longs songs that never really go anywhere.

    Pike 58: Outpost - Lots of funky Pikes lately. Not complaining, I dig it. This is a good one. Love the interaction between Buckethead's guitar and the synth bass. It's a recent addition to his music but it really helps with giving this music some depth, rather than just random guitar noodlings.

    Pike 59: Ydrapoej - Another one not for the faint of heart, but I loved this. Very manic, but there are so many great ideas. They're quick and easy to miss, but that just draws my attention to this even more. Love the sudden shifts from ultra heavy to mellow. And then the more atonal stuff in between. It also reminded me of his earlier xenochrony albums. Wouldn't be surprised if there is some xenochrony happening. Either way, great stuff.

    Pike 60: Footsteps - Is this Buckethead's longest song so far? This was really good. Just a 30 minute mellow jam. One of his more relaxing pieces. The type of tune you could put on and zone out to. Very good stuff.
    CriedWhenBrucieLeft likes this.
  10. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Thanks to @CriedWhenBrucieLeft, who urged me to have another look at earlier work, I gave Pikes 1-100 another listen (the ones I do not already have).

    From this range I decided to obtain 16 Pikes and mark 8 others for a possible third listen in the future. I'd like to explore 100 and beyond first.

    In possession before obtaining:
    8 Racks 2012
    10 The Silent Picture Book 2012
    11 Forgotten Library 2013
    17 The Spirit Winds 2013
    23 Telescape 2013
    24 Slugs 2013
    25 Pancake Heater 2013
    30 Mannequin Cemetry 2013
    31 Pearson's Square 2013
    38 It Smells Like Frogs 2013
    39 Twisterlend 2013
    42 Backwards Chimney 2014
    43 Pike 43 2014
    44 You Can't Triple Stamp a Double Stamp 2014
    45 The Coats of Claude 2014
    49 Monument Valley 2014

    To obtain:
    9 March of the Slunks 2012
    15 View Master 2013
    18 The Astrodome 2013
    35 Thank You Ohlinger's 2013
    37 Hollowed Out 2013
    40 Coat of Charms 2013
    50 Pitch Dark 2014

    24 Slugs 2013
    25 Pancake Heater 2013
    30 Mannequin Cemetry 2013

    In possession before obtaining:
    51 Claymation Courtyard 2014
    65 Hold Me Forever (In memory of my mom Nancy York Carroll) 2014

    To obtain:
    64 Aquarium 2014
    66 Leave the Light On 2014
    71 Celery 2014
    73 Final Bend of the Labyrinth 2014
    74 Infinity Hill 2014*
    85 Walk in Loset 2014
    86 Our Selves 2014
    89 The Time Traveller's Dream 2014
    90 Listen for the Whisper 2014

    60 Footsteps 2014

    72 Closed Attractions 2014
    78 Pike 78 2014
    93 Coaster Coat 2014
    97 Passageways 2014

    If I ever meet you in person Cried, we'll have a good listen to and talk about The Pit (Pike #36). Written words are not enough to point out my problems with it, or at least: why I don't share the enormous love you and Mosh share. And the other way around as well: I'm curious what you would say.

    Too bad. I couldn't get three Pikes.

    Not for sale:
    15 View Master 2013
    18 The Astrodome 2013

    Broken link:
    85 Walk in Loset 2014

    *EDIT2: And I forgot get a fourth: 74 Infinity Hill. I forgot to add it in my excel document. :facepalm:
    I'll get it next time, for sure. A very interesting pike. Almost sounds like Rush. Even though the drum sound isn't that natural, this music, the way it's played, it sounds very organic, as if I'm hearing a band!
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2017
    CriedWhenBrucieLeft likes this.
  11. CriedWhenBrucieLeft

    CriedWhenBrucieLeft Ancient Mariner

    Impressive picks, Foro; all of those are great Pikes.
    So am I...
    Interesting these aren't available. I assume you mean in the $2 sale only?
    You'd better contact Buckethead Pikes! :ok:
    Very interesting album indeed; I like it a lot. And it really does sound like a proper three-piece; the bass really compliments the guitar work in the way a Rush or Primus bass-part would. Definitely Buckethead on bass for this album, I think.
    Forostar likes this.
  12. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    Pike 61 - Citacis: This one was too all over the place for me. There are some good ideas here but a lot of it meanders without being particularly interesting.

    Pike 62 - Outlined for Citacis: Same as the previous Pike, the title and track names pretty much guarantee a similar sounding album and that is what you get.

    Pike 63 - Grand Gallery: Talk about a waste of time. I don't really have anything against atmospheric/"noise" music, but it needs to have a clear purpose. I will say that the quiet moments were kinda eerie and interesting. Overall seems like Buckethead spent a half hour screwing around with his guitar, and not even in an interesting way.

    Pike 64 - Aquarium: Finally something worth listening to. A return to form with awesome riffing and his signature melodic style. Lots of trademark sounding Buckethead riffs. Gotta recommend this Pike mainly for all the melodic offerings. Great stuff.

    Pike 65 - Hold Me Forever: Wow. Buckethead's tributes to his parents are always great, but this one stands out as one of his best. Not just best tributes, but one of his best albums period. I wasn't expecting this one to be as heavy as it was, considering these types of albums tend to be on the soft side. Still it was a nice surprise as Buckethead delivers some of his most haunting melodies. While this is broken up into several tracks, it's obviously a single piece. Not only do the parts all segue into each other, but you hear a lot of the same melodies and chord progressions throughout, giving it a unified feel. The finale, "Er", features some of Buckethead's most explosive and mindblowing playing. Don't miss this one.

    Pike 66 - Leave the Light On: This album has some really nice variety. Some groovy stuff, some shreddy riff driven stuff, some more melancholy stuff. Only four songs, but they each have their own identity. I thought this was a nice well rounded release that stayed interesting. Also some really intricate drum programming.

    Pike 67 - Abandoned Slaughterhouse: The first thing you'll notice with this album is how bad the production is. Buckethead has always been somewhat inconsistent here, but never this bad. It sounds like it's being played through a tin can. Considering the ugly album cover that goes with, I have to assume this on purpose. Still, it cheapens the music and makes it hard to enjoy. The music itself isn't much to write home about anyway. Some interesting ideas but also a lot of meandering.

    Pike 68 - Assignment 033-03: The bad production continues. For some reason it feels like the worst Pikes come in pairs. It's almost as if he's purposely messing with his audience. This one is slightly better, but still not really worth the time.

    Pike 69 - Category of Whereness: This was an improvement but still below Buckethead's usual standard. This is good if you like prominent bass, but I felt like a lot of the jams here didn't go anywhere. I'm really into a good jam, but I feel the album didn't quite deliver here. While there are moments that suggest there was some more thought put into this than the last few albums, it still doesn't really work for me.

    Pike 70 - Snow Slug: This seems to be a continuation of the style on the previous Pike. More understated bluesy jams with prominent bass. But this time it totally works. Some really moody riffs on here. Great stuff. Also some nice angular jazzy melodies to keep things exciting. It's a quieter album, but enjoyable either way.

    Pike 71 - Celery: Another one track Pike. This one is a bit more on the heavier side, but still extremely melodic. A nice long jam. Probably not for everyone, but I enjoyed every minute.

    Pike 72 - Closed Attractions: Been a very long time since Buckethead did a purely mellow album, and this time he really brought the dynamics down. Very soft minimal recording. Not a lot of overdubs and the melodies are simple. Very easy to zone out to. I like it. It's tranquil.

    Pike 73 - Final Bend of the Labyrinth - This is another Pike that is clearly one track split into multiple parts. Very nice buildup between the parts though.Some crushing riffs mixed with sprawling melodies. Then in the last track, the 13 minute epic closer, Buckethead just cuts loose and shreds. Solid album with a great finale.

    A more uneven set of Pikes this week, but still a lot of gems.
    CriedWhenBrucieLeft likes this.
  13. CriedWhenBrucieLeft

    CriedWhenBrucieLeft Ancient Mariner

    Yip. Yip. YIP! :p
    Indeed, barely a drop in quality across the whole release. Awesome.
    Some of his coolest soloing. Such a good album.
    Love this Pike.
    Hmm. The production might be amateurish sounding, but do you not think Buckethead just thought this drum sound was what he wanted to play around with? How is the production worse than Splatters (Pike #29) or The Miskatonic Scale (Pike #55)? Now those are two Pikes with poor production...
    Neither are in a style I particularly need to hear Buckethead explore, but I think you're right in saying Snow Slug just has a slight edge here. Category of Whereness was one big track, I think, on the non-digital release. It's one that needs a few more listens. That said, who's going to do that when the reward is a Pike which is never going to be any better than Snow Slug?
    This is a lovely, lovely album. Highly recommended.
    Absolutely. Well worth owning & listening to.
    'Twas that.

    EDIT: Just listening to #68. Sorry, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the production on this album. I think, like Foro, you're mixing up not liking the sound/tone of this album with poor production. Maybe "ugly" does indeed fit quite well in describing the sound though. Personally , I think these are brutal, but damn good.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017
  14. CriedWhenBrucieLeft

    CriedWhenBrucieLeft Ancient Mariner

    Two playlists currently being built...

    Buried Deep (4 tracks)
    Turgid Highlights (23 tracks)

    So did you pick up any further Pikes in the sale before it ended?
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017
    Forostar likes this.
  15. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    No way, #29 and #55 sound much better. Just sampled the four of them together and it's no contest.

    Definitely not going to argue that it isn't intentional. I get that it's an artistic decision, but I don't think it sounds good.
  16. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    No. I could inform the site about the broken link. On the not for sale pikes: These were not for sale in any version. Perhaps you can have a look @CriedWhenBrucieLeft, I might have overlooked something. Numbers 15 and 18.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017
  17. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    Pike 74 - Infinity Hill: I can definitely hear the Rush connection. Similar riffing style, but also has that power trio set up. One guitar, one bass, drums, all taking the leads at various times. It's stripped down and refreshing for Buckethead. The guitar is still the main focus for the most part, but there are interesting things happening with the other instruments too which can be a rarity for some of these albums. Great soloing too.

    Pike 75 - Twilight Constrictor: At first I wasn't thinking I would recommend this, as it takes awhile to get going. The first three songs feature a lot of meandering and don't seem to go anywhere, but the 17 minute closing track redeems this Pike. Very nice atmospheric jam.

    Pike 76 - Caterpillar: A return to what I consider the "traditional" Pike format of 7-9 guitar based riff driven songs in the 1-5 minute range. This one has that stripped down groovy sound also found in Infinity Hill, but with less emphasis on the other instruments. Not necessarily a bad thing in this case, as there's some really good playing on this Pike.

    Pike 77 - Bumbyride Dreamlands: Same format as the previous Pike, but with heavier riffing. There's some really dynamic stuff here too, such as Hub and Spoke Plain. Nothing innovative here, but definitely pleasing to anyone who enjoys Bucket's guitar playing.

    Pike 78 - The mellower Pike entries seem to be happening less frequently, but I also think that's partially because there is more experimentation going on than at the start of this series. This is an enjoyable listen with some variety. Some sparse tunes with bluesy soloing, some more groovy stuff, and also some melodically driven tunes. Good stuff here, hard not to enjoy Buckethead in this mode.

    Pike 79 - Geppetos Trunk: This Pike had its moments but overall probably not one I would go back to. I didn't like the guitar tone and the muddy riffing was difficult to enjoy. There are some really cool moments though. South Chamber Of the Pit is a pretty killer jam. Unfortunately the majority of the album isn't at that level.

    Pike 80 - Cutout Animatronic: This is something different for him. It's sort of in the same vein as the previous Pike but I found it much more enjoyable. It has some grooves that harken back to his early electronic era, but he has refined that sound a ton since then. Still not a fan of the guitar tone, but the grooves make up for it here. Also some awesome bass focused moments.

    Wasn't able to get to as many of these this week, but the few I did listen to were mostly really good.
    CriedWhenBrucieLeft likes this.
  18. CriedWhenBrucieLeft

    CriedWhenBrucieLeft Ancient Mariner

    Does italics still signify you recommend/enjoy the Pike? If so, I'm genuinely surprised you liked some of these. I totally agree with what you say regarding the muddy tone though; it's a real distraction from some his playing & something I find it quite difficult to enjoy. I much prefer the punchy tone of Bumbyride Dreamlands for example. Overall, there's some good stuff in the 70's; but uneven too...
  19. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    Yes italics signifies that I recommend the Pike. I try not to be too liberal about handing out recommendations here, but I do genuinely enjoy a lot of these (although I will say every Pike I listened to today was a bust). They're also short so they usually don't overstay their welcome.

    I've found his guitar tone can make a pretty big difference in my enjoyment. With music like this it's less about the songs and more about the overall sound and texture he's creating. If the guitar sounds ugly I'm going to have a hard time appreciating it. But there are a few that work in spite of that too (Pike 80).
  20. CriedWhenBrucieLeft

    CriedWhenBrucieLeft Ancient Mariner

    "A bust"?

    Anyway, yeh, tone is pretty important to me too. It's not really the muddy guitar tone that I don't like, it's more the muddy bass sound. He's good on bass, but I want to hear him clearer; I enjoy his dynamic crisper playing, like on Infinity Hill. Talking about Pikes #79 & #80; Geppetos Trunk is actually one I return to more. It's a pretty solid listen throughout with a few highs in there. Bass stuff is pretty cool on Cutout Animatronic (i.e on Cut and An) though.

    The 80's are pretty uneven too; but there's some stunning individual Pikes coming up. Are you just going to proceed in batches of 10? It's actually slightly easier to follow.

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