Brainticket – Cottonwoodhill
Gotta love an album that was banned in the US for an association with psychedelics. When Brainticket’s debut was first on the shelves, it bore a sticker that posed the idea, that listeners should “only listen once a day to this record. Your brain might be destroyed” and “After Listening to this record, your friends may not know you anymore” Honestly that sounds like a damn good hype sticker these days. Probably was then too. The album bears the distinction of being one of the psychedelic artifacts of the era to age most gracefully. While there were many that sought to wrap the idea of psychedelics into the listening experience itself, Cottonwoodhill’s second side ably captures the disorientation, flow, and peak of the experience. Despite being most closely associated with the German Progressive crowd, the band was actually formed by Belgian Joel Vandroogenbroeck, a classically trained pianist who’d played with the Quincy Jones Orchestra and the RAI Symphony.
When Vandroogenbroeck became enthralled with the music of Can, Tangerine Dream, and Amon Düül II he decided to switch gears and put together something a bit more out than his previous experiences. The debut only contains two proper songs which open the album before launching into the epic, three-part suite “Brainticket.” The suite features ecstatic vocals from British vocalist Dawn Muir, atop hypnotic grooves and a synth shuffle that seem bound to begin dismantling the speakers with their tension. Sounds come from all directions, obscured and rushing from one side to another. Quite honestly, if a listener were actually in the grip of drugs, this might not be the best pull from the stack, but any other day its a welcome companion to soften the synapses. The band released another couple of albums that skewed more song-oriented, but the debut remains the most fun and, likely the most impactful of their works. A new issue on the Lilith imprint puts this one back on the turntable to bake in a new generation of brains.
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