21 January 2008

Brainticket - 1971 - Cottonwoodhill

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.

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Brainticket - 1971 - Cottonwoodhill


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

A great album of it's time, thanks a lot. Appreciate all the work on this site, quality stuff!

Anonymous said...

Many many years ago, a group of 6 teenagers (including myself) dropped a couple hits of "new world. Then, timed to perfection, we dropped this trippy dish on the turntable.

We grooved out for the first couple of tracks, and just when it got interesting, we opened the album cover.

Completely lost on the CD version of Cottonwoodhill, is the fold-open style inner cover art, and when opened has this intense smeared fractal graphic which managed to completely engulf ones entire reality.

The real "brainticket" only comes to the surface once during the album, it is the word "brainticket" repeated over and over again. In the middle of the last track, it fades in and the rest of the music fades out, until the only thing you hear is "brainticket" repeated several times. As it fades into the background music, it *almost* completely disappears. It is then that you realize, it was there the whole time!

Half an hour later, we were all completely tweaked. We put some Aerosmith on to chill the mood, and in the background of "Dream On", we could all hear it... Braaaainticket, Braaaainticket, Braaaainticket...

20 years later... I somewhat expect to hear that sound again someday, as I realize I have been there the whole time ;)

Anonymous said...

Dood is a trippy cat.

dood took too much acid yeah.

Anonymous said...

I haven´t heard the album yet, i just found out about this group... cool! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Found your blog by way of a Brainticket search. Since then I have been tripping through proverbial daisies mulling over your posts. Incredibly extensive and insightful. I've been turned on to some phenomenal stuff by ways of your recs. My deepest thanks for your efforts here - all best. I will stayed tuned ...

P.S. - Cottonwoodhill, however lacking in the sophistication of other B-ticket lps, is some raw good fun - though I don't know whether its geared more toward a N02 binge?

Brian said...

I don't know where you find all this stuff but it definitely lives up to the "psychedelic obscurities" in your blog name! Thanks for making this great stuff available to the curious. Much obliged.

Martin said...

Also on mediafire:

Anonymous said...

New link: