Celestial Ocean



by Thomas Bambaataa Ghidrah Towers USER (67 Reviews)
February 14th, 2006 | 11 replies

Release Date: 1974 | Tracklist

Meet Larry, heís a 65 year old man. He lives in the hospital, where he has been most of his life. His mind has been destroyed, basically. He cannot eat on his own, he can barely speak, and when he does, it rarely ever makes sense. He usually sits in his room all day with a blank stare on his old face. Itís as if heís not even alive anymore. So what caused Larry to become this way? Did he get hit in the head by an anvil? Did he watch a Steven Seagal movie and enjoy it? No, in 1974 he listened to too much Brainticket. The excessive amounts of intoxicating psychedelia obliterated his mind. So remember: Whenever listening to Brainticket, listen in moderation, unless you want to become like our friend Larry.

Brainticket are indeed an interesting band in musical history. In the beginning of their career, they began as a psychedelic band, albeit more sprawling and, well, psychedelic than your Sgt. Peppers and your Pipers at the Gates of Dawn. They composed repetitive, spacey music using synths, dizzying amounts of chorus on their guitars, and murmured spoken word lyrics. But by Celestial Ocean, Brainticket were bordering on Krautrock and Progressive Electronic, while still incorporating their disturbing psychedelic wackiness.

Celestial Ocean is basically a trip. Itís based on Egyptian mythology; the Book of the Dead. Presumably, the band is re-enacting a trip some Egyptian guy would take after dying; but with more sound effects and weird lyrical content then whatís historically accurate (wait, is this still mythology?) The album flows as one song, sometimes not even changing for a couple of songs, sometimes changing completely by the second half of one song. At some points the listener will probably wonder how the hell a certain piece of music fit in.

The album heavily uses synthesizers, preferably Moog, the sort of synth one would hear in those dated 70ís sci-fi movies (the ones youíd take acid and listen to this with) but still incorporates an impressive array of instruments. The beginning track, Egytian Kings is a good example of this, based on a syrupy bass synth but has a poignant organ accompanying it, cancelling out the eeriness. The song features what little lyrics there are on the album; and thank heavens too, I can only handle so much freaky spoken word. The vocals are simply male vocalist Joel Vandroogenbroek (with a last name like that, he should be in a psychedelic band) speaking a couple of obscure words under a thick layer of tone morphing phaser effects and female vocalist Jane Free repeating them, in a Nico Bohemian crazy chick kind of way.

When there arenít cheesy sound effects plaguing the album, giving it a dated sound, the psychedelic diversity kicks in. There are musical interludes of hippy-like sitar instrumentals with acoustic guitar and flute, changing the enigmatic mood of the album quickly. That is featured on Rainbow, but the nice mood created is quickly removed, as the songís coda is a bunch of lame spacey effects. Era of Technology is most reminiscent of the bandís earlier, and arguably better work. It's one part spoken word cacophony over manic drumming, other half a peaceful flute song with actual singing. The middle section of the album is basically just freeform, trippy jamming, with interesting percussion work. Itís also where the Krautrock and electronic prog comes out, the synth work strangely impressive. Groundbreaking? Or just discarded soundtrack material for movies those Star Trek nerds like?

In the end, the only songs that are actually enjoyable, rather than just ďdude, this shit is tripping me out"-worthy are the last two songs. They create a beautiful ambient mood, going from a Middle Eastern like flute instrumental, to an unexpected, but great, piano piece before reintroducing the spacey, perplexing psychedelia of the first song. Celestial Ocean is mildly enjoyable, most of the songs are based on repetition and slow progression, very few are actual ďsongs". If the album isnít listened to in its entirety, the mood and flow is ruined, which is the redeeming quality of the album. It can either be seen as one long song, or several sprawling and bipolar ones. Recommended only to big fans of psychedelic (and I mean real psychedelic) and perhaps those interested in the synth noodlings of Krautrock. If youíre anyone else, itís recommended to listen to Celestial Ocean with mind-altering drugs. Yes, I endorse those, go tell your parents.

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user ratings (6)

Comments:Add a Comment 
February 14th 2006


I'll read this when I have the time. rain check reading ftw

February 14th 2006


Album Rating: 2.5

you have time to harrass me with screams but not to read my review :mad:

February 14th 2006


Wow, very good review but I certainly won't be checking this one out.

February 14th 2006


This sounds kinda cool.

+++++ on the review.

February 14th 2006


Quality review. I detected a few grammar mistakes but that's about it, nice work.
This sounds interesting, Krautrock + Progressive electronic would sound awesome. I'll have to check this out sometime soon.

February 14th 2006


Review intros have been more inventive lately.

February 14th 2006


[Qupte]you have time to harrass me with screams but not to read my review[/Qiote]
pfft, you love my scream.

Where in the world did you find this album. Sounds like something I'd find in the used pile at my local comic store. ++++ m/ m/ =) -------> review

Edit: haha, seems I had trouble spelling quote.This Message Edited On 02.14.06

February 15th 2006


Wow sounds interesting...don't think it's for me though. Tops review.

February 24th 2006


Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks much, Jom. I just wanted to say that I just realized the irony between my opening paragraph and last few sentences: warning not listen to too much Brainticket, and ending with endorsing psychedelic drugs. :lol:

March 16th 2006


I remember listening to this album many times in my late teens & early twenties, soon after its release (uh-huh, im that old). In 2006, it definitely sounds dated. I see now that it was not an Italian band, though my imported vinyl LP was from Italy. Spoken word is especially amusing on this album especially the "Era of Technology" track, where they ID the Hertz of the sine waves generated. They throw in German and French. "hache-deux-eau, composition d'amenagement. formule dix. le recherche du professeur Picard sur la composition des formes erreur" "secure ... a maximum reading ... on the output ... or V.U. meter"
Visions reminds me of Tarkus by Emerson, Lake & Palmer while other tracks bring to mind earlier King Crimson. I concur with the review that the last two tracks are the most listenable.

Contributing Reviewer
October 18th 2013


Album Rating: 1.5

Useless album.

Digging: Zombi - Shape Shift

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