Viggo Mortensen. Buckethead. At first glance, you may wonder what these two people have in common with each other. One is a New York born actor who is most famous for playing Aragorn in the fantasy movie series The Lord of the Rings
, while the other is mysterious, California born guitar virtuoso, who has released a total of over 31 solo albums since 1992. While it seems that these two share nothing in common, it is in fact that nothing could be farther from the truth; since 1992, both these artists have been coming together and creating some of the best avant-garde spoken word albums to ever come into existence. With Mr. Mortensen's hauntingly poetic prose and Buckethead's well known eccentricities, the two are truly a strong pair to be reckoned with, a fact that can be easily solidified with their 2003 album Pandemoniumfromamerica
Listening to Pandemoniumfromamerica
could definitely rank as one of the most eclectic, outlandish things a person has ever heard; each song has an identity of it's own, along with a myriad of odd instrumentals and samples that are far from your conventional music fare. As "Holyhead" borrows the main soothing guitar melody from the song "All In The Waiting" on Buckethead's Electric Tears
(the same guitar line also makes an apperance on the title track "Pandemoniumfromamerica"), it also displays the eerie, echoed chants of Mortensen along with samples of falling rain, a blend of elements that creates a tension, anxiety-filled atmosphere. The song "Leave It" features the unique and easily recognizable keyboard work of album producer Travis Dickerson, who along with Buckethead's soulful blues guitar playing create a seethingly melodic instrumental. Travis Dickerson isn't the only guest on the album though; most of the songs on Pandemoniumfromamerica
feature a multitude of different artists. Take for example the song "Maybe", a spacey, almost noise influenced at time piece, that puts the vocal and piano talents of fellow The Lord of the Rings
actors Dominic Monaghan and Elijah Wood on full display. For an even further push into The Lord of the Rings
territory, the song "They Ate Your Family" is a distorted guitar led track that even has Viggo reciting Elvish lines from the movie; a risk that seems to not only perfectly fit the song, but the overall feel of the album.
may not grant instant satisfaction for some, the appreciation garnered from repeated listens will guarantee this album longevity only reserved for the best of albums. While Viggo and Buckethead may not have much in common outside of their music, when these two come together, the creative forces are something to be reckoned with, as anyone who gives Pandemoniumfromamerica
a listen, will easily attest too.