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.
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.