Quality: 3.5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5
Generally acknowledged as one of the more obscure krautrock classics, Brainticket was in fact more of an international band anchored by the Swiss organist Joel Vandroogenbroeck. On this debut album, the group set out to document an LSD trip as the Grateful Dead did on Anthem Of The Sun and Ash Ra Tempel would later do on Seven Up. I'm not willing to say that this album quite ranks up with those discs, but once Brainticket gets going about halfway through the first side, it's full of sonic weirdness worth hearing.
"Black Sand" and "Places Of Light" lay down the preliminaries. The opening "Black Sand" fares pretty well with some great acid guitar lead, wide open organ and Joel V's vocals (not typing that name again). The rhythm is tense and tightly wound, but it's noteworthy as the basic beat will uncoil and blow wide open for the three eponymous tracks. "Places Of Light" is probably the least of the tracks here gliding on a 70's Pink Floyd sort of spacey groove. There's a touch of jazzy flute, which doesn't really do it for me, and Dawn Muir's acid goddess vocals, which do.
The rest of the tracks are all entitled "Brainticket" (part 1, part 1 continued, and part two). Instrumentally the good news here is that the band builds its insane 'found sound' and synthetic experimentations on top of a pretty cool percolating organ, percussion, and funk guitar groove. The band news is they play the repetitive groove for 26 minutes of a 34 minute album. I guess the trick here is to let the groove carry you away as a mantra while you're showered with the totally oddball synth swoops and random sounds. We've also got Dawn Muir sounding as if she's taking the Woodstock brown acid; it's pretty amusing, but it actually kind of scares me too.
Cottonwoodhill is a wild album that should invade your ear at least once. There are some truly deranged sounds, but I personally feel like things get a touch too repetitive. I guess I like a little more meat with my aural dinner. That said, an awful lot of people seem to be willing to put this one on a pedestal, so give it a try.
Brainticket - 1971 - Cottonwoodhill