“Cottonwoodhill” is perhaps most notorious for carrying a warning in the inner sleeve that you should “Only listen once a day to this record. Your brain might be destroyed” and for it’s drug-endorsement on the back cover. Also the face on the cover looks a bit like that of an inflatable sex foll bar having teeth. So, with all the trippy, distorted imagery on the cover, you are left expecting some way-out improvised noise rock. Yet, it kicks off with “Black Sand” which sounds like a tough-edged Booker T & The MGs, albeit with weirdly distorted vocals and a more Hendrix-inspired school of guitar riffs. With the storming organ and vibrant rhythms, it’s not hard to see why fans of rare grooves have been seeking after this one just as much as psyche, prog and kraut heads.
Brainticket rose from the ashes of a jazz group and it certainly shows on this album. “Places of Light” is another jazz-dance classic with mellow flutes, slow funky rhythms and strange hissing rhythms. We also get our first clear taste of vocalist Dawn Muir doing some decadent, whacked-out vocals. She has the classic cut-glass English accent but also sounds outrageously bohemian in a manner that always fascinates and never grates. However, the real mind-dose comes halfway through side 1 when a collage of sirens, drills and other found sounds herald the start of “Brainticket Part 1”. This epic track goes all the way through to the end of side two, based around the same heavy groove over and over again. This never-ending looped funk provides a backbeat for some wild sound experiments. Samples of cheering crowds, subway trains and some very warped electronics. This is the real trip. The electronics fizz and buzz and hum right through your brain, never repeating the same trick twice. A wall of percussion pounds away just about perceptible in the mix. Dawn Muir delivers a terrifyingly intense vocal performance which sounds like she’s having an orgasm while she utters a shamanic sermon on life.
“Part 1” ends with a snatch of Beethoven then we get a second or twos silence and then the riff starts up again for “Part 2”. Now Dawn sounds furious about something (whilst still sounding like a sex kitten on acid) and the electronics begin to get really weird, sounding like a fleet of UFOs landing in a Blue Note session. There’s a freaky fade-out to a fizzed-out voice going “BRAINTICKET” over and over before the grooves fade back into our ears.