Buckethead
Monument Valley


4.0
excellent

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
February 9th, 2014 | 44 replies | 7,285 views


Release Date: 03/07/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Buckethead's drive through the desert.

By now, everyone must be fed up with Buckethead's relentless album releases. The Pikes series started less than three years ago and it already produced 49 pieces at an inhuman pace, with no signs of stopping. Putting out a lifetime's worth of material, times five, inevitably attracts its own issues. A huge amount of tracks are forgotten since the listener's being bombarded with a new pike almost each week, while a lot of experiments feel like leftovers that even though they share the man's signature guitar prowess and diversity, they should've best been shelved or reworked to differentiate themselves from others.

Besides this, most of these records have fallen into a certain musical trap, just because they offer either a half hour of manic shredding over some heavy background patterns, some lovely, mournful semi-acoustic tunes or weird experimenting with sound manipulation, resulting into some creepy, dark ambient stuff. There's little to no diversity on each pike itself, as Buckethead clearly wants the audience to separately absorb them as big chunks, rather than a more dynamic, cohesive journey. Consequently, they often fall flat, especially when listened to in a larger number. Of course there is that small number of efforts where he mixes things a bit, getting off auto-pilot and those show best just how good this guitar prodigy can be. Unfortunately, such highlights are harder to find in the ever increasing sea of pikes. I have to admit, I tried my best to keep the pace with him last year, yet I can't remember 80% of the songs. Probably by the time anyone reads this at least two new pikes will already be available, so, sadly, the attention will be focused on those (if any left).

Even so, there's an amazing amount of solid material found in the series alone and when Buckethead is in great shape, he churns some really awesome tunes. Much like Pearson's Square, Worms For The Garden, Twisterlend, Pikes #13, Coat Of Charms, Rise Of The Blue Lotus or insert others here, Monument Valley is another gorgeous addition to the catalog. Again a subdued affair, it could easily be the soundtrack to a visit in the desert at sunset (as evidenced on the cover) or a nostalgic remembrance of the summer days. 'Fembot', 'Lirtson Nostril' and the title track offer some awesome background rhythms for him to solo at will and he really manages to hit some heartwarming notes. On top, there are several sharp riffs, nice crescendos and sudden breaks, which along with subtle changes and variations, keep things flowing at a lovely, steady pace throughout the 30 minutes. The beautiful guitar interludes that pop up a couple of times in the first four minutes of 'Lirtson Nostril' are arguably Buckethead's most serene moments since Electric Sea.

Taken into small doses, the pikes are a lot of the time some nice, short trips that don't require a lot of time and patience to be enjoyed. Thankfully, Monument Valley ranks up high with the best ones so far, becoming the most charming from the low-key category. However, dropping so many on the internet almost every week, it's a tough task to check every one of them, so it's understandable why a lot of people have given up. Also, the weird experiments that haunt the series are most of the time some real turn-offs that should best be avoided, if one's not interested in abstract, dark ambient sounds. Trimming would be essential, yet the man doesn't care and keeps releasing music at his own will and pace for others to select what they want from the collection.



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user ratings (24)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2014



3365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

This is an amazing pike, I'm thinking of raising the 4 to a 4.5. Constructive criticism appreciated.

Stream it here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLKZDCQsq4Y

Also, get your copy here - http://music.bucketheadpikes.com/album/monument-valley

The pike has been released on February 7 and the signed limited edition is out by March 7.

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

CalculatingInfinity
February 9th 2014



1563 Comments


How does Buckethead has ANY records of any good quality in the Pikes series with this insane pase? o.0

Digging: Supercell - Today is a Beautiful Day

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2014



3365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

I don't know, but anyone who has doubts should listen to Monument Valley. It's mesmerizing from the first listen.

Pheromone
February 9th 2014



3466 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Listening now. Review was great btw.

Digging: Sneaker Pimps - Becoming X

Froot
February 9th 2014



830 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Listening now, also.

Review was enjoyable, but, like a lot of Bucket reviews lately, is more an analysis of the Pikes series most of the time than a critique of the album itself; your thoughts on the album would make for a good soundoff. But yeah, very well written.

rockandmetaljunkie
February 9th 2014



3302 Comments


lol, 5 albums in 2014 already, wtf ?

Pheromone
February 9th 2014



3466 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is by far the best; If not the only good one

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2014



3365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Thanks.
@Froot - Yeah, even though I started writing about Monument Valley, I wanted to include some thoughts on the entire series too, mostly because there are more reviews that just dismiss them or are simply rants. Plus, this pike is one of those few that deserve more attention than usual, even if more than half of what i wrote is about the series lol.



Pheromone
February 9th 2014



3466 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Didn't he release another one on the 7th, is that worth listening to?

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2014



3365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

It's a lot more metal, but not just shredding. It's cool and less 'robotic', but not that memorable. I'm curious to hear the other 4 pikes that don't have a digital release yet, only special edition delivered to those who ordered.

Pheromone
February 9th 2014



3466 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It seems to be pretty easy to predict the quality of a Buckethead album by the quality of the artwork

Froot
February 9th 2014



830 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Loving these melodies thus far.

This is the first time I've attempted to initially listen to an album on YT, as I typically like having all my music downloaded on Spotify.

diversifyingmybonds.gif

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2014



3365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

@NerdTalent - haha, that's true, even though a lot of the covers are pretty cool.

@Froot - I usually download most of the stuff on my computer, as Spotify isn't available in my country yet. Plus, I like to see those charts on last.fm as precise as possible (it's quite addictive lol).

1992
February 9th 2014



160 Comments


honestly, i like most of this guy's pike stuff, so i will definitely be checking this out

Tunaboy45
February 9th 2014



2028 Comments


How many albums is he gonna release in the pike series?

Digging: Porcupine Tree - In Absentia

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2014



3365 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Maybe 50, maybe 100 ? Who knows, if people dig them and he doesn't get bored or runs out of ideas, maybe even more.

Dunpeal
February 10th 2014



3656 Comments


someone make a list to properly rank this guy's discog

Digging: Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden

Rastapunk
February 10th 2014



735 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Lirtson Nostri is amazing!

Gyromania
February 10th 2014



15482 Comments


first song was really bland but i'll listen to the rest.

good review

BigBlob
February 10th 2014



1637 Comments


Buckethead has become a joke now.



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