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|A Beginner's Guide To Buckethead|
Buckethead has one of the biggest discographies in music. His solo work alone comprises over 65 albums, and he has over 100 others with various bands and lurker appearances. This plethora of material can often be intimidating for an uninitiated Bucketbot to sort through. I haven't listened to all of his material, but I have heard (and reviewed) a fair amount of it. With that in mind, I present to you: the beginner's guide to Buckethead. It consists of 13 albums (13 is the obvious number to choose for Buckethead, as you will understand after perusing and listening to his discography) you should start with, and then an additional 6 for further listening should you like what you heard. So, without further ado, here's your ticket... welcome to Bucketheadland.
Buckethead's 2nd solo release is the perfect place to start. It introduces you to the lore of Bucketheadland and has a sampling of virtually all of his various sides- you have your metal riffs, ballads, funky stuff, etc. etc.
Check out "Colma" next, which is widely regarded as one of Big B's best releases. Written for his mother while she was in the hospital, the album has some of Buckethead's most beautiful tracks and shows off his acoustic playing. I think I read somewhere that Paul McCartney is a fan of this album. As far as I'm concerned, that's all the more reason to listen to it.
The Elephant Man's Alarm Clock
Next, go to "The Elephant Man's Alarm Clock." This is considered by many to be one of, if not the, best Buckethead album ever released. It's got the four part Lurker at the Threshold series. Final Wars. Droid Assembly. Bird with a Hole in the Stomach. Space bass solos. Tapping. Killswitch. Insanity. Beautiful balladry. Riffs so heavy they make you want to punch a kid. Amazing production. Bootsy Collins. In other words... everything you could possibly want in a Buckethead album.
A blues jam album with Travis Dickerson, Pinchface, and Choptop, "Population Override" is one of Buckethead's mellower and more chilled out releases overall. This doesn't mean it has any less impact than his heavier stuff, though; indeed, "Population Override" contains some of the most gorgeous melodies Big B has ever played. This album shows yet another side of Buckethead.
Giant Robot (NTT)
Giant Robot (yes, the same name as the album) is a side-project of Bucekthead's which has to date released only one album. However, it is considered by many fans to be the holy grail of all Buckethead albums, and with good reason: it encompasses everything from lightning fast guitar shredding to Jimi Hendrix-esque funk breakdowns to country jamborees, and does all well. Also prevalent are voice samples from movies such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and A Clockwork Orange. The only disappointment on here is the pointless 'Idle Hands', a track that barely tops the one minute mark and doesn't contribute to the album in any significant way. The other pieces on here are almost all great, though; particularly the slightly funky 'Scraps', wacky experimental rocker 'Binge Buddies', and the beautiful 'Mrs. Beasley.' You can download this one for free (and legally) online. Many of these songs would be re-recorded for "Monsters and Robots," Buckethead's best-selling solo album. I consider this to be the superior release, however, and thus recommend checking it out over that one.
The Cuckoo Clocks of Hell
This is the album where Buckethead lets his metal side really shine. All 17 of the songs here are heavy, loud, and awesome. If you love metal music but don't like the screaming vocals often associated with it, this is the album for you- it's all instrumental. A must-listen.
Basically the polar opposite of the last record, "Electric Tears" is Buckethead's softest album. It ebbs and flows throughout, providing a serene experience featuring many of Buckethead's most gorgeous songs ever. It is different than Colma, though- it features no percussion and is more ambient than that record. Even people who can't stand Big B's other stuff tend to love "Electric Tears"- my Dad once asked me what that beautiful music I was playing was, and when I told him Buckethead, he couldn't believe it.
This choice might seem slightly out of left field for some fans, but hear me out. "Bermuda Triangle" is an important record for getting a complete picture of Buckethead because it is perhaps his most accomplished electronic/funk record. Also, it has 'Sea of Expanding Shapes' on it, which is one of his most underrated songs ever.
Transmutation (Mutatis Mutandis)
The first album Buckethead ever played on, and also one of my personal favourites, Transmutation (Mutatis Mutandis) is a wild ride from beginning to end. The multi-faceted compositions on here jump from genre to genre effortlessly, and every moment on here (aside from the overlong organ outro on the last song) is precise and perfectly placed. Packed with detail, this is an album which requires multiple listens to fully appreciate, but once you do, look out: you may have a new favourite.
Crime Slunk Scene
The infamous "record of two halves," Crime Slunk Scene shows Buckethead at his best in both. Not only is Soothsayer on here, which is one his most well known songs, but a wealth of other amazing tracks are too, and it all adds up to one of Big B's greatest releases.
Thanatopsis is one of the most accomplished of Buckethead's numerous side projects. "Axiology" is essentially a smooth jazz album, with a very clean sound and fantastic production. This record represents yet another side to Buckethead, and is so well done I can't not put it here.
I recommend listening to Bucketheadland 2, but be warned: it isn't for everybody. It has some of Buckethead's heaviest material ever, but it also contains numerous skits, voice samples, and freaky acoustic tracks from 'Albert.' Though it may be polarizing, this record is a landmark in the lore of Buckethead and therefore a must-listen.
The Shores of Molokai
Buckethead's newest album series is called Buckethead Pikes. He's currently releasing them, and doing so at such a rapid rate I can't keep up. From the ones I have heard, though, this is the best. Of all Buckethead's recent releases, this is the one to check out. Sound-wise, it features a nice mix of styles, though it's all rooted in the instrumental progressive experimental guitar virtuoso rock he's so known for.
Like the 13 above? Here is some further listening...
A perennial fan favourite, "Inbred Mountain" encompasses a lot of what makes Buckethead such a unique composer: radical genre jumps mid-song, bizarre and atonal guitar effects, insanely fast shredding, beautiful melodies... they're all there.
Buckethead's debut record might sound rough around the edges to some, but it is one of my personal favourites and features a lot of Buckethead hallmarks (sampling, shredding, etc.). Some of the material is similar, or was even re-recorded for, "Giant Robot." This is pretty hard to find, but is well worth a listen if you can get a copy.
|17||Death Cube K|
Death Cube K is an anagram of Buckethead, and it is the moniker he uses to release ambient material. Listen to "Dreamatorium" for a good taste of this side of the masked guitarist.
Decoding the Tomb of Bansheebot
Darker and more experimental than many of Buckethead's solo outings, Decoding the Tomb of Bansheebot is without a doubt one of the most consistent releases from Big B. From opener "Materializing the Disembodied" all the way to "Sail on Soothsayer", a heartfelt tribute to Aunt Suzie (probably a relative, though we don't know for certain whether that is a nickname or not), Buckethead pours his soul out and, luckily, we are all here to witness it.
Dawn of the Deli Creeps
Deli Creeps were the first band that Buckethead played with. They released a demo tape in 1991, split up, released another in 1996, split up again, and then finally released their first record in 2007. This is not an instrumental record- Maximum Bob provides vocals here. A schizophrenic, insane listen from a band Mike Patton called "so good they piss me off."
In Search of The...
Okay, so I cheated here. "In Search of The..." is actually a 13-CD set of all new music released by Buckethead in 2007. Though this may seem like a lot to take in, and it is, the set has a lot of excellent material and is well worth the effort invested in listening to it.
IF YOU DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THE WHOLE THING, HERE ARE MY RECOMMENDED VOLUMES: 1, 2, 3, 6
|Hopefully this helps some people out, enjoy : )|
|this dude has something new out every week it seems...|
|amazing list. bucketheadland pt II is super underrated. deli creeps rule, praxis rules aww hell everything here rules. would have probably included zillatron, jonas helborg and viggo on here though|
|Calc: in some cases, that is literally the case|
TheSpirit: Thanks man! I've never heard Zillatron or Hellborg. I have heard a little bit of Viggo stuff though. I gotta get some of the full albums.
|I would have chosen Enter the Chicken, I started with that album. Great beginner album imo|
|enter the chicken is good until you get into his other stuff then you start to hate it except for funbus|
|this dude seems like jazz artists from the 50s and 60s in that they would just go into the studio and jam for fun and boom that's an album|
this nigga has so much music that i get the impression that's just what he does too, like would you expect him to remember/be able to play most of the songs he's recorded?
|Enter the Chicken is a fun listen, and Nottingham Lace, The Hand, and Three Fingers are in particular great tracks. Overall, I wouldn't recommend over the records I chose here, but it's worth listening to if you're interested and not a bad album by any means.|
GnarlyShillelagh: Most... I'm not sure. However, it wouldn't surprise me.
|Yeah that's why I've never really checked his music out because it just seems to me like the freestyle aspect would make things a little unfleshed out|
|lol good idea for a list. The sheer number of his releases is mega-daunting. |
|KFC Metal blows.|
|GnarlyShillelagh: He has a lot of stuff that isn't freestyle at all though, like most of the albums in the list
conesmoke: Thank you! Hopefully this helps out sorting through his stuff.
someguest: no u|
|I agree 100% on this list. Couldn't have put it better. Nice work!|
|Always good to see a Buckethead list, but I'm surprised to not see Shadows Between the Sky on here. That is easily my favorite of his along with Colma since I like his softer stuff the best.|
for making this list
|tiesthatbind: I got check out that album|
Pesitferous: thank you!
|Bookmarked hard, nice list|
but 6? too long away
i like d3
Tyrannic: I'm not sure what you mean
|escape from inbred mountain is probably my favorite buckethead song, so much fun. population override is best album though|
|no Pepper's Ghost or Diamond in the Rough makes me sad|
|pepper's ghost is meh|
|boo meat booooo|
|if im gonna listen to generic buckethead i prefer elephant man or bansheebot|
|peppers ghost is p sweet but ive found that i need to be in a pretty wierd mood to really enjoy the album past the first 3 tracks|
|I'll have to check later. Thanks 4 the list. I needed something to start with.|
|nice can't wait to finally really dig in to this|
|No Electric Sea? That album is seriously one of his most accessible and lovely. Pearson's Square is pretty good too for starters.|
|I love Buckethead :D|
|Never really checked Buckethead. I'll probably use your list.|
|Pretty okay list. I'm happy that you only included one pike... I never really liked TSOM, but everybody else seems to be all over it, and I guess you do need to represent the pikes in a list like this somehow. Inbred Mountain and the Deli Creeps should be in the main block.|
"Sea of Expanding Shapes" is indeed underrated. It used to be "our song" with my ex, when we broke up she kicked it from her last.fm library. Good times.
|Thanks guys! I would have included Electric Sea, but I prefer Electric Tears and it didn't really feel necessary to include both. I haven't heard Pearson's Square yet.|
turnip90210: Haha, well she's missing out.
|damn this is exactly what i was looking for. time to start listening|
|"I never really liked TSOM, but everybody else seems to be all over it"|
It's Alive and Look Up There are sooooooooooooo much better
|oh and 3 Foot Clearance|
|"It's Alive and Look Up There are sooooooooooooo much better" roflno, they are both horrible|
"oh and 3 Foot Clearance" true, but it's still not anywhere near the heights he used to scale though
|4 rules so fucking hard|
|turnip you need to just stop typing right now because your posts are blinding me|
|he sucks so bad.|
|i cant even remember which other albums i jammed of his by 4 was far and away my fav of the 6 or 7|
|yeah dude 4 is amazing|
|gonna check some stuff on this list|
|wow when did population override and crime slunk scene stop existing on spotify fuk|
|Fantastic list and details Lambda!|
Hail the Bucket!
|I would add the recent Pikes #13. That album has some of the most moving melodies he's done.|
|"wow when did population override and crime slunk scene stop existing on spotify fuk"|
|nice list, think I've heard about half of those, not a fan of his bleepy shit but some of the more laid back stuff is great|
|Giant Robot Theme best new song 1900's|
|The Real Beginner's Guide To Buckethead:|
|Thanks everyone! (except someguest ;)
I liked It's Alive and Look Up There, but SoM was superior to both imo. As for Pike #13- fantastic record, and it almost made the list. If I'd had a couple more spots it probably would have.|
|What can I say, I'm a real stinker.|