Estradasphere to those who may not know them. I remember when I first heard them, back in high school when I was mostly listening to a lot of metal and rap/rock crap. At the time, the most experimental band I had heard was Mr. Bungle, who I adored; California was instantly one of my favorite albums when I heard it, but one fateful night, Metaghost invited me over to hang out and play some GTA3, as well as to share some musics and eat some snacks. He was more than excited to show me Buck Fever: he was pretty much shitting his pants. He popped it on, and for the next hour we sat in awe, shitting our pants together.
Buck Fever is epic. The first thing you need to know about this album is the bands lineup. Although they were a 5 piece band at the time it was recorded, that says precious little about their sound: each of the five members were super-multi-instrumentalists. Were talking a minimal of 5-6 instruments each, with their sax player John Whooley tipping the scales at 20 (if you include the 7 different percussion instruments listed; I do). Their recording lineup for the album is here.
Their skills at song structures is next. The scope of their sound is only surpassed by the batshit insanity of their compositions: their songs go to so many different places, with a mastery of every genre you can think of, and the imagination to link their different sections together smoothly and flawlessly. Track five, Meteorite Showers, if I recall correctly, boasts 65 different styles through its 8 minutes. It is an overwhelming track, and more of a showoff of their skills and production than a cohesive "song", but it is crazy impressive nonetheless.
Unfortunately, it is pretty hard to find good recordings of them on the internet. They were too weird and undefinable to make any kind of waves, but Buck Fever stands tall as an achievement of insane skill and creativity that, with the help of Trey Spruance, made it to the presses with awesomely produced clarity. Their cover of the Mario Brothers 2 theme as a big band jazz piece rocks: it includes one of my favorite upright bass solos of all time. Buck Fever, the first song of the album, sets things up properly, with some Beach Boys styled melodramatics that quickly run amuck into rockabilly chase music before giving way to section after section of neatness. Millennium Child sits in the center of the album, 8 minutes of greatness with some of the sickest unison violin/ sax melodies I can think of. But what has always taken the cake for me is track six, The Bounty Hunter. Although it is more straightforward big band jazziness than a majority of the album, my god is it nasty.
Do enjoy, ninjas.
<-the bounty hunter