Book and CD Reviews

Intelligence Failure - Buckethead & Viggo Mortensen

Source: PCH Press

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Intelligence Failure
Intelligence Failure.
From the creative collaboration of previous Guns 'n' Roses guitarist Buckethead and prominent actor/musician/poet/photographer/indie publisher Viggo Mortensen comes this release of braided political-musical composition: Intelligence Failure. In what has come to be expected from the indie publishing house Perceval Press, the cutting-edge, hard-hitting Progressive values of peace and anti-political corruption are more than mere overtones in this work.

However, there are subtextual elements present in the 2005 release of Intelligence Failure connecting the work to a 2004 release of Please Tomorrow that creates a feeling the two are part of a continuing collection.

Dark phrases and well-crafted instrumentation leave the listener in the uncomfortable situation of unresolved feelings. Specifically the track, What Kind of Nation uses open source quotes from persons of power in government and emotional imagery from the past three years of continual war. The threads create a need to be angry, rant, rave, scrunch the eyebrows, pace across the kitchen then let the tears fall as the Inbox drones on another person lost in a bloody and corrupt war. So too with the themes in Please Tomorrow. But the feelings are musically driven. Similar phrases, dark imagery and guitar riffs of deep woodsy flavor one might find in a bold red wine.

The track Sunrise on the Perceval Press CD Please Tomorrow seems to be the root composition for many phrases of the track What Kind of Nation. The track Swallows to Bats on the CD Please Tomorrow contains elements of taps found on Intelligence Failure's What Kind of Nation.

The two CDs seem part of a genre of art that expresses the skullduggery of the powerful through pretzeling of emotions. In pictorial form, recent nationwide exhibitions of photographs show rows of boots with a soldier on bended knee in front of a pair of boots.

In musical form, What Kind of Nation uses sound to express the similar mixed-up and angry feelings. Marching boots cross the mind just before a thread of late 60's themes are windswept into a guitar segment of When The Saints Go Marching In.

Intelligence Failure also stars Viggo's son Hank Mortensen and longtime musical collaborator Travis Dickerson. And as such, perhaps it's the interwoven creative drive of father and son, or the simple build of a work that seems the second act of a not yet finished three act play. But overall, the overt and hard-hitting political edge of Intelligence Failure seems to create a stronger fabric of feeling than the whole of the well-done CD Please Tomorrow.

Intelligence Failure does not leave the listener with a clear sense of resolution. There are far too many unresolved threaded themes for there not to be a third act to finish off the set. But, this is just one artist's interpretation of what is really a complicated set of works.
Last edited: 23 February 2007 14:52:04