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Buckethead - Pandemoniumfromamerica (with Viggo Mortensen) CD (album) cover




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2.00 | 2 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
2 stars Although BUCKETHEAD had been a guest player on the previous four albums of VIGGO MORTENSEN (yes, you read correctly, the actor who played Aragorn on The Lord Of The Rings movies), PANDEMONIUMFROMAMERICA was the first collaboration where BUCKETHEAD was included as an equal in the title credit. This is a very different album for BUCKETHEAD in that it is essential a collection of spoken-word (although spoken in varied manners) narrations that express dissent from the current political undertakings occurring in the USA at the time of the launching of the Iraq War which as widely known today was initiated and carried out under false pretenses and against international law. The album is dedicated to Noam Chomsky whose speeches are sampled at times and represents the period of the early 21st century state of affairs. The album also includes keyboardist Travis Dickerson, Viggo's son Henry Mortensen occasionally on bass and the whole bunch of Hobbits from the movies to boot with Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan (Frodo, Pippin and Merry) adding various vocal contributions.

MORTENSEN contributes not only much of the spoken dialogue but also handles most organ and piano chores whereas Dickerson picks up percussion. BUCKETHEAD handles the expected guitar and bass duties and in addition to it all there are also occasional extra noises, samples and dark ambient effects. While spoken-work albums are often quite bland with little variation, the vocals experienced on this album are just plain strange with all kinds of different ways of reciting poetry taking place to the point where they become unintelligible at times with some like 'Gone' being quite sophisticated providing layers of different instrumental parts. It all gets very ethereal and detached feeling as different vocal tracks weave around each other and become rather psychedelic in nature reminding me of the most lysergic of Krautrock experiences. The music never becomes fast and upbeat. It always remains somewhat low key and heats up to simmer at best.

While a step above the bland almost droning speeches that orators like Chomsky are capable of delivering, the majority of the album is quite memorable for delivering the most bizarre music and vocalizations mustered up save the album from the throwaway bin but some make more of an impression than others. Personally i really like 'Gone,' 'They Ate Your Family' and 'I Want Mami' which are extremely atonal and experimental but have something extra that i can't put my finger on but still find more appealing than the rest. There is really not very much that could be considered 'normal' music at least not for very long. 'Red River Valley' is one of the exceptions that utilizes alt-country guitar riffs bordering on honky tonk with avant-garde noises buzzing around it although the slightly off country vocal style followed by a funk bass ending is the closest to anything traditional music that would be familiar.

Mostly this is totally free-form expression of seemingly random sounds colliding and melding together in utterly unpredictable ways yet some of the tracks are mesmerizing in their extreme avant-garde ways of playing out. This is a very weird album for sure and i'm totally into weird however i'm not partial to spoken-word albums much and this one has too much avant-mumbling around structureless instrumentation whirling about like random particles in the super collider in Switzerland. Weird good but this just doesn't have enough going for it to make it a good repeat visit. Worthy of checking out for sure but probably not one you'll rip to your hard drive and make a playlist out of. While proving to be an interesting experiment of sorts, PANDEMONIUMFORAMERICA ultimately fails to have enough oomph for interesting return visits.

siLLy puPPy | 2/5 |


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