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Celestial Ocean

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Album Review

Inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Brainticket's Celestial Ocean tells the story of an ancient king traveling on a ship through the afterlife. Brainticket merges modern and ancient musical instruments throughout this album. Synthesizer sounds that could have come from a 20th century sci-fi movie (e.g., Logan's Run) are mixed with the acoustic sounds of the flute and zither. This sonic juxtaposition adds to the theme of the king traveling from the ancient world through time. The first two tracks, "Egyptian Kings" and "Jardins," are tied together with a common melody and are among the best tracks on Celestial Ocean. On these songs, Brainticket creates a musical landscape of synthesizer and reverbed flute. Joel Vandroogenbroeck delivers his lyrics in a near whisper, while Carole Muriel repeats his words. This call-and-response vocal delivery adds to the bizarre atmosphere created by the music. Although the aural textures on Celestial Ocean are often engaging, many of the songs drift into the realm of self-indulgent noodling. For example, on "To Another Universe" Muriel spouts out numbers and other abstractions over driving percussion and synthesizer bleeps. Other tracks like "Cosmic Wind" boast no obvious melodies, which can also make for a difficult listen. At times, it's hard to take the songs on Celestial Ocean seriously. Like-minded bands from the period, such as Gong, could get away with singing about space ships and other psychedelic themes because their words were tongue in cheek. In contrast, Brainticket's more serious slant on this subject matter can be a bit harder to swallow. Despite these limitations, Celestial Ocean provides an interesting aural journey. Fans of Brainticket or the Krautrock genre will most likely find this album rewarding. However, the casual listener won't miss anything by avoiding this trip.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s

The obscure late-'60s/early-'70s experimental/Krautrock outfit Brainticket originally formed in 1968, consisting of members from Swiss, German, and Italian descent. Although members came and went during their tenure together, their most popular lineup consisted of Joel Vandroogenbroeck (organ, flute), Ron Bryer (guitar), Werni Frohlich (bass), Coismo Lampis (drums), Wolfgang Paap (tabla), Dawn Muir (vocals), and Hellmuth Kolbe (potentiometers, generators, and sound effects). The multi-member band...
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Celestial Ocean, Brainticket
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