Friday, November 5, 2010

Brainticket - Psychonaut

Some bands want to have a laid-back groove and carry the experimental sound into the Outer Limits and make an alternate soundtrack to the 1973 cult-classic film, Logan’s Run starring Michael York and Jenny Agutter. Kraut and Space Rockers Brainticket and their follow up to the strange and weirdest avant-garde twist debut of Cottonwood Hill in 1971, their second album, Psychonaut, was recorded at Milan Studios in Italy during the same era. The album itself is very Raga-Rock with an attitude of atmosphere, ambient, and raw psychedelic futuristic sounds of the 21st century.

The band was founded in 1968 by multi-instrumentalist Joel Vandroogenbeck (I know that’s one hell of a long last name) in Belgian. Even though they have a Krautrock sound almost as if Amon Duul II and Frank Zappa had a love child, Brainticket is one of the most underrated bands to come out of the Belgian Music scene. Alongside Joel, the band members are: Jane Free, Rolf Hug, Martin Sacher, Barney Palm, and Caroline Murel.

Starting the album off with the 7-minute Radagacuca with it’s eerie Hammond and Flute duo like it was recorded in a dark and cavernous cave. Then it becomes an Indian Psychedelic tribe with acoustic guitar, sitar, and congas as where they do a reminiscent of Quintessence as the lyrics have a stylization of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The lyrics may feel strange and interesting, but it’s very haunting and moody as the last few minutes become almost a Doors sound with chanting, manical laughter, and the organ creating a spooky finale that really sets the tone.

One Morning sounds like an ambient jazz sound with the piano and double harmonization vocal track done by Mr. Vandroogenbeck as it features the rain and thunderstorm as a wonderful sound effect while the percussion has a mysterious tone. (There’s a Shadow) Watchin’ You features some strong dramatic vocals done by Jane Free. The track is very psychedelic and has a harder edgier sound with help from Guitar, Organ, and Bass. With a little help from the Leslie Speaker, Joel creates a dynamic yet evil sound on the Organ that makes it a real haunting melody.

The last few minutes is a real kicker as the tempo starts to slow down by going through a droning technique with the Sitar as it goes through a Hare Krishna Raga sound by giving it the Indian Music scene. The 6-minute Space Rock sound is back to the core with a militant dooming sound on Like a Place in the Sun. There is some singing, but with spoken passages that reminiscent Robert Calvert and Jim Morrison working together to make a twisted solar system adventure.

The drumming is like a pounding kettledrum that almost is a combination of Billy Cobham and John Bonham while the organ itself has a soul turned doom metal sound as the bass has a lot of walking tough bass lines as Jane speaks like a monotone to the futuristic city as the band members help her out with the piece as the finale has a Soft Machine ‘60s sound in the realm of Lullabye Letter intro. Feel The Wind Blow goes in to the Acid Folk remedy with it’s strange lyrics that is almost in the mind of Comus First Utterance.

Under the surface, it features amazing layered guitar work, atmospheric organ work and nice touches on the flute to make the tempo soar up to the milky way. The last track, Coc O’ Mary, is one of the most surprising closing numbers on the album. You can tell according to DPRP’s John O’Boyle, it has a touch of Jethro Tull meets ELP.

This is almost a rumbling prog rock instrumental piece as the musicians give their strengths and all their might to close out this explosive composition. This album is a lost gem and Brainticket themselves deserve a huge pat on the back. They could have been bigger than CAN, but they are a band that deserves a lot of attention and lot of recognition they need throughout the Prog and Experimental community.

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