Being as LSD was first developed in a laboratory in Basel, it is perhaps no coincidence that one of the most "far out" albums of all time was made by this Swiss band (no small feat, given the competition!).
Brainticket's 1971 debut, Cottonwoodhill, begins normally enough with two fine psychedelic / kraut rock-influenced tracks, but the remainder of the album plays like an acid trip with a soundtrack, dominated by Joel Vandroogenbroeck's endless droning organ, a variety of musique concrète-type sound effects and vocalist Dawn Muir's trippy vocals.
The album, banned in several countries, even came with this self-imposed warning: "After Listening to this Record, your friends may not know you anymore." / "Only listen to this once a day, your brain might be destroyed!"
Vinyl LP £17.99 CLPLP7058
Splatter vinyl reissue gatefold LP on Cleopatra.
Vinyl LP £15.99 LR313LP
LP and bonus CD jobber on Lilith.
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- Cottonwoodhill by Brainticket
8/10 Mr Pearls Brain 16th November 2015
Legendary but also barmy Kraut/psych album by Swiss band with Belgian star instrumentalist Joel Vandroegenbrook, with really blatant drug theme. The two opening numbers are pretty good, the first in aforementioned Kraut/psych mode with organ stabs and guitar squeals, the second in a more prog jazz vein. Not my thing, really, but a useful breather before the monstrosity that is "Brainticket pts 1-3". This totals about 26 minutes and is split over the 2 sides of the record. It is a musical journey through an acid trip. It basically cops the same riff through the whole song, and is based on organ and guitar, and a woman describing her trip in overwrought language and with an overwrought voice. She sounds alternately like she's climaxing or dying and it's a profoundly odd listen. I like to think she was off her head when recording, but who can tell?
Part 2 ends with the opening line of Beethoven's 5th like a false ending and then part 3 goes back to the Brainticket riff. I can't help feeling that if they could have squeezed the whole of Brainticket onto one side and written another 6 or so minutes of music to fill out the A side, this would have been even more effective. As it is, sad to say, the album works better on CD, where you don't have to flip in the middle of your trip.
10/10 Simon Franklin 21st April 2011
I discovered this early 70’s Swiss band via Japanese noise meister Masami Akita (aka Merzbow) who sampled selections from this LP on his 1993 album “Brain Ticket Death” which is part of the legendary fifty CD “Merzbox” set.
Intrigued by what I heard on the Merzbow album I decided to check out “Cottonwoodhill” in full, and it’s been well worth it!
The vinyl LP is presented in a lavish gatefold sleeve complete with an obi strip, which also holds a CD of the album.
It’s a pretty short outing, just over 34 minutes long, but not a second is wasted.
The music is powerful organ and guitar driven psych/acid rock, with the opening instrumental track, “Black Sand” featuring some fine work from keyboardist Joel Vandroogenbroeck. “Places Of Light” features vocals from Dawn Muir who sounds a bit like Deborah Cunningham from the Flying Lizards, reciting very bad hippy-like sixth form poetry. It’s the only downside to the entire album.
Now we get into the real meat of the record, the extended workout that is “Brainticket Pts. One & Two”. Imagine a jam session by the early Charlatans, with lots of sound effects layered over the top. It’s easy to understand why Merzbow was attracted to them. Part two continues with the same organ driven riff and more bad poetry until it all suddenly ends. I really enjoyed this entire album, and whilst an awful lot of this type of music now sounds dated and embarrassing, this is one ticket that you are going to want to reuse for a number of return journeys!
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