Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5
Although Cottonwoodhill seems to get all the freakish glory in the universe of Brainticket, for my money this is the better album. Although I suppose it's lacking a bit in the full on, balls-to-the-wall freakiness of that earlier album, Celestial Ocean is a more assured and graceful psychedelic voyage through parts unknown.
One big plus here is the much more varied sound present here. Instead of spending half the album on a bubbling groove, the band explores a much wider series of sonic vistas. There's a mystical vibe here that manages to evoke Egyptian pyramids, Mayan temples, and Indian countrysides.
The album functions on sort of a bell curve of energy. The tracks, while very different, form sort of a suite. The first three tracks, "Egyptian Kings," "Jardins," and "Rainbow" start things off on a lilting note. Joel Vandroogenbroeck and Dawn Muir share a strange, half spoken duet on "Egyptian Kings" while "rainbow" definitely brings up the images of that aforementioned Indian countryside. Then the gears kick up a notch on the next three percussive tracks that throw in some awesome modular synth squeals. It's almost as wild as the first album, but it's much tighter and has more of a sense of traveling somewhere. There are also plenty of shades of early Popol Vuh and Tangerine Dream added in for fun. "Cosmic Wind" and "Visions" give us a beautiful coda, focusing more on acoustic sounds.
This is a more relaxed album than Brainticket is generally known for. I think that it's the sound of a band very much in a prime groove and is a must hear.
Brainticket - 1974 - Celestial Ocean