This is the latest addition to my collection of albums by the artist known as Buckethead. In his large and varied collection, I have witnessed his genius in many kinds of music. However, like most artists, some albums are better than others.
Actually, the album title here is very descriptive of just what you get inside. It is indeed an acoustic album, in fact, no one is on this album except Buckethead. He plays the acoustic guitar for the entire album. As it says on the inside jacket This music was recorded in real time, without overdubs or effects devices, just Buckethead in a living room, playing an acoustic guitar.
That is indeed what you get here. Buckethead is just noodling on his guitar for 50 plus minutes. Although the songs have names, if you are familiar with Buckethead, names of songs are for the most part meaningless, and seem to be assigned at random to sections of what sounds like one extended guitar session. Songs include titles like Ghosts Upstairs and Stay out of the Shed. Most of the songs here are original songs, not acoustic renditions of familiar Buckethead tunes.
Well, I've covered the acoustic part, but I have to say that shards is equally descriptive. When you break a pane of glass, all that is left are the shards. Some are small and others are large, all are sharp. Like even the worse low quality DVD releases of Buckethead, nothing can hide the fact that this guy is talented. Some of the shards on here reminded me of classical guitar playing like Segovia, others of jazz guitar like Django. Yet other bits and pieces sounded like Windham Hill founder Will Ackerman. There are shards of genius in this acoustic collection. However, as a whole, the work just isn't very cohesive. Even though the album is tentatively divided into 15 songs, it didn't really sound like songs, just Buckethead playing whatever came to his head while he played.
My Final Thoughts
I liked this album, there is some great acoustic guitar stuff on here, but for me, this sounded like the practice session for an album that should be released after it is polished and produced. Buckethead's talent can clearly be heard here, but what this album lacks is an overall polish, an overall sense of being complete. I own a number of acoustic guitar collections, and I really enjoy listening to classical, new age or jazz guitar to mellow out. Buckethead could easily take his place besides any of them, but this album sounds like the raw demos. I gave it three stars, because I did enjoy listening to it, but I have to say, if he could do this and really have it produced as a final acoustic album of his jazz, classical and new age acoustic guitar compositions, he could easily have yet another five star album.
I would only recommend this album for a real Buckethead fan, the guitar skills are fine, but Acoustic Shards doesn't really hold up as an "album".