For Immediate Release
Purple Pyramid Records To Reissue Seminal 1971 Debut Album By Krautrock Legends Brainticket ‘Cottonwoodhill’ On CD May 7, 2013
Warning! Only listen once a day to this disc. Your brain might be destroyed!
Los Angeles, CA – Much to the excitement of Krautrock fans and music collectors worldwide, Purple Pyramid Records will be reissuing the seminal 1971 debut album and psych-groove masterpiece by legendary Brainticket titled ‘Cottonwoodhill’ on CD May 7, 2013. Featuring full digital remastering for superior sonic clarity and packaged with extensive liner notes by music historian Dave Thompson!
Brainticket is the brainchild of Joel Vandroogenbroeck, a Belgian based in Switzerland who grew up studying classical piano before switching to jazz. He received the Art Tatum prize as “youngest jazz pianist” at the tender age of fifteen, and was soon touring around Europe and Africa. By 1967, Joel was still playing jazz but he found new inspiration in the sounds emanating from German Krautrock artists Amon Duul II, Can and Tangerine Dream.Under the influence of these groups, Joel and guitarist Ron Byer recruited drummer Wolfgang Paap and formed the trio that would become Brainticket. The group’s 1971 debut album ‘Cottonwoodhill’ immediately ran into a storm of controversy for its association with psychedelic drugs. The album came with a warning label that insisted you should “Only listen once a day to this record. Your brain might be destroyed,” which led to the album being banned in several countries including the USA.
From then on, Brainticket’s reputation as a band of experimentalists at the forefront of underground, avant-garde music had been solidified. Following the death of Bryer, Joel began exploring electronic sounds, moved to Italy and met an American woman named Carole Muriel. A pair of Swiss musicians, guitarist Rolf Hug and bassist Martin Sacher, followed and the group released 1972’s ‘Psychonaut’. A rock opera collaboration with Academy Award winning film composer Bill Conti (‘Rocky’) followed before Joel began work on a new Brainticket album based on the ‘Egyptian Book of the Dead’. The new album, ‘Celestial Ocean’, told the after-life experience of Egyptian kings traveling through space and time, from the desert land to the pyramids. Released in 1973, the album was hailed as the definitive Brainticket experience and earned the band their greatest acclaim.
Joel has continued to explore new creative avenues over the decades, releasing two more albums under the Brainticket moniker, including 2000’s ‘Alchemic Universe’. Recently, he teamed with Cleopatra Records to release the first ever Brainticket box set, ‘The Vintage Anthology 1971-1980′, a 4-disc compilation containing the complete first three albums along with several rare recordings. The box set is a celebration of Brainticket’s enormous contributions to electronic and ambient music that would provide inspiration for progressive bands from Emerson Lake & Palmer to Yes as well as modern acts such as Radiohead.
Joel recently discussed Brianticket with writer Dave Thompson, “We were not a group, we were a place where creation was made and this place was Cottonwoodhill, even if it was never mentioned in the later albums. Besides myself trying to keep this together, every recording has different people. In general, it did work to our advantage. There was an encounter, an inspiration, a production and after that everyone went away on his own path. I believe that this concept is what made Brainticket so original as we never were the ‘perfect concert band.’ We had something different to offer.”
They still do. In 2012, Brainticket went out on the road, touring the US with a set that reached all the way back to these magnificent beginnings. And when he was interviewed at tour’s end, Joel was still flying high. “At the start I didn’t believe that this would be possible, but I can say now that this was one of my best experiences with Brainticket. New blood flew in my veins. I was invited all over the place and the concerts were a huge success. People my age that were still huge fans of Brainticket mixed with young generations that wanted to learn from me, what I knew, and experience what I had done with music. It was like a dream. A space rock invasion!”
And now, with the re-issue of Brainticket’s debut album ‘Cottonwoodhill’, fans can experience where it all began!
Advice… After listening to this disc, your friends won’t know you anymore!
To purchase Brainticket’s Cottonwood Hill CD: http://www.amazon.com/Cottonwoodhill-Brainticket/dp/B00BSHYWMQ/ref=tmm_acd_title_popover
For more information: http://brainticketband.com
Doing a little research on the new record label, BEM, I found this today. A manifesto. In the most emphatic but non-religious sense, I write the only Aramaic word I know: “Amen.” Thank you, David Elliott. Brilliant.
Every record label needs a manifesto – here’s ours…
Bad Elephant Music (BEM) is a record label with a difference.
The music industry has changed immeasurably in the last ten years, a change which we at BEM see as good for everyone (with the possible exception of major record company executives!). It’s now possible for musicians and songwriters to make professional-quality recordings of their material for very little outlay, and the low costs of production of CDs together with high-quality digital distribution means that releasing an album no longer requires the backing of a Sony or an EMI.
But artists are in the business of creating. Releasing a recording involves a lot if work – getting tracks mastered, arranging for artwork to be produced, sorting out duplication of CDs, advertising, setting up mail order and digital distribution – the list goes on. Musicians want to be free to create, to have the space to make the very best music they can.
This is where BEM will help, Working in very close collaboration with musicians we bring the results of their creativity to the listener. Not only can we get CDs made and sort out the digital world, we’ll publicize and market the music with the enthusiasm of fans.
Because fans is what we are, first and foremost. We know that BEM isn’t going to make us rich, and that’s not how we measure success. We’ve got ‘day jobs’, just like most of the artists we work with, we’re not relying on BEM for our livelihood. If we can help bring some great music into the world, cover our costs, make a small profit for the ‘talent’ and maybe afford the occasional curry, then we’ll consider the job done.
What’s In It For Me?
The Music Lover
As fans ourselves we know the thrill of unwrapping a new CD, putting it into the player and hearing it come alive for the first time…the uncovering of new depths with repeated listens…the feeling of satisfaction when the artwork complements the sounds. The demise of the CD has been widely predicted over the last few years, but we think it’s a format that’s still in great health, and it’s the way we prefer to buy music ourselves.
So you will get CDs from us, professionally made and presented, and at a price that’s fair for everyone – for you, for the artists and for us. We offer a fast and friendly mail order service, with postage and packing charged at cost, to anywhere in the world. Our returns service is second to none – if you’re unlucky enough to get a disc that’s defective in any way at all, we’ll replace it at our expense, no questions asked.
If you prefer to buy your music as downloads then that’s fine by us, and we apply the same quality criteria in the digital realm. We’ve chosen CDBaby as our partner for downloads, providing high-bitrate (that’s good quality) MP3s of all our releases. We also recognize that with downloads you often miss out on the artwork you get with a CD, so we make special versions available on our own website.
Whichever way you like to buy your music, you can be sure of one thing – to BEM, quality music and quality service go hand-in-hand.
To us it’s all about building relationships. If you sign with BEM you’re entering into a partnership with us. We’ll talk to you before anyone signs anything to find out what makes you tick, who your audience is, where you want your music to go. Only when both you and we are happy that we can work together will we put pen to paper.
There’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ BEM artist, so there’s no standard contract. We arrange things to work for you, tailoring the package to suit. Maybe all you need is someone to arrange for your latest album to be duplicated and distributed. Maybe you need help right from the start, finding a producer and a studio. Maybe you’re somewhere in between. We’ll work out the right deal for any situation.
We can’t promise to make you rich, but we do promise to give you a fair deal. Weasel words like “recoupage”, “breakage fees” and “container charges” don’t appear in your contract with us, which will be written in plain English, easily understandable by non-lawyers. We’ll be investing in your project, and we will expect to get our money back, but we will make sure you understand how that’s going to work.
You should expect to get a profit from you music…after all, we do! Our basic model is that once we’ve recovered our investment (the money we put into production, duplication and marketing) we’ll split the profits with you equally. We’ll also be absolutely transparent about what we’re paying out, so you can see precisely how the business end works. The contract we make with you will cover a specific album or project, with a fixed period of time during which we have sole rights to distribute it. We never own the music itself – you made that, and you deserve to keep it. At the end of the ‘distribution period’ you’ll have the option of staying with us (we hope you will) or being free to sell the music yourself, or through someone else.
Not all musicians perform live, but fortunately there are other ways to promote your music. If you do gigs, then we’ll be there, and we’ll make sure you have CDs to sell to the punters, but if you don’t then we’ll look at what we can do with video, internet marketing, the press, and so on. It’s in our interests to promote you as much as it’s in yours.
And that’s it, plain and simple. No hidden agenda.
BEM – music is our passion.
To read the statement as originally posted, please go to the BEM website.
As the Tangent posted this morning on Facebook:
On the 24th June 2013, InsideOut Music is set to release the seventh studio album by The Tangent entitled Le Sacre Du Travail (The Rite Of Work). The album is the group’s first fully blown “concept album” but band-leader Andy Tillison is keen to point out that this concept is something that involves all of us now rather than a rambling fiction.
Formed from a single hour long piece of music in 5 movements and referred to by the band as “An Electric Sinfonia” based around a working day of a typical Western-world citizen, the album has a very personal feel. It’s highly orchestral and 20th century classical in tone, very much inspired by Stravinsky’s The Rite Of Spring. Described by INSIDEOUT CEO Thomas Waber as “A very mature album” with “Stellar Musicianship” – this album sees the lineup of The Tangent revert to an earlier formation, Andy Tillison (composer/keyboards/singer) again bringing on board Jonas Reingold on bass (The Flower Kings, Karmakanic), Jakko M Jakszyk on guitar & vocals (King Crimson, Level 42), Theo Travis on wind instruments (Soft Machine, Steve Wilson Band) with the new additions of Gavin Harrison on drums (Porcupine Tree) & David Longdon on vocal harmonies (Big Big Train). In addition there are cameo appearances by Rikard Sjoblom (Beardfish) and Guy Manning amongst others.
The Tangent add to the statement:
The artwork for the outside cover you see here, is by a remarkable gentleman named Martin Stephen. The interior artwork will be announced & featured extensively later.
Much more info on the Tangent Website updated today (please allow for bizarreness)www.thetangent.org And of course regular Pre-Ordering begins today!
Look out for more information on the album in the coming weeks!
The Fierce And The Dead
B.E.M. is delighted to announce partnering with The Fierce And The Dead for the production, release and worldwide distribution of the band’s second full-length album.
The Fierce And The Dead – guitarists Matt Stevens and Steve Cleaton, bassist and producer Kev Feazey and drummer Stuart Marshall – was originally born out of sonic experimentation when making Matt’s second solo album, Ghost, and they’ve developed into one of the most original bands in the UK rock scene. Their unique brand of instrumental rock music, fusing rock, post-rock, punk and progressive elements, has made a big impression through one full-length album and two EPs, and their incendiary live performances, most recently as part of the Stabbing a Dead Horse tour of the UK with Knifeworld and Trojan Horse.
David Elliott, founder and CEO of Bad Elephant Music said: “We’re proper made up to be working with The Fierce And The Dead. They’re absolutely our kind of band, and lovely guys too. I’m looking forward to hearing what Matt, Kev, Stuart and Steve are going to produce for us, and of course it will be an absolute monster. Collaborating with a band of TFATD’s calibre is a huge honour for us, and we welcome them with open arms to the B.E.M. family.”
Matt Stevens, on behalf of The Fierce And The Dead, said: “We are extremely pleased to partner with Bad Elephant on this album, they are true music lovers and believe in supporting the artist. This will allow us to make the music we want to make and have the support to help us gain a wider audience, without in anyway compromising our vision for our new album. And they like a good curry, which is nice.”
The as yet untitled album is scheduled for release in the Autumn of 2013.
You may not like what I say.
You may not like the way my eyes stay straight.
But I tell the truth.
–John Galgano, “Real Life is Meeting, Pt. 1”
Appearing amidst a whirligig of CDs in that prog annus mirabalis, 2012, John Galgano’s first solo album barely got noticed. And, this is to the great loss of all of us who love beautiful things. For Galgano’s art is of the highest quality, and this CD would be regarded by any sane person as a must-own, prog masterpiece.
From the beginning note to the last word, the CD breathes integrity and a real wholesomeness. It is, clearly, a labor of love. The lyrics, the performances, the packaging. Everything.
Each instrument performs spectacularly. None, though, stand out in terms of quality more than the bass. Indeed, the bass work is nothing less than extraordinary. If there is a failing to this album (and this would be the only one), however, it is that the bass is way too low/quiet in the mix. When I listen to the album, I have to strain to hear the bass–but it’s worth it, as the bass soars in both subtlety and craftsmanship.
But, the highest of the high–that which holds the entire album together–is the combination of the voices of Galgano and Laura Meade. Alone, each is stunning. Galgano has a distinctive voice, and it’s as clear on this solo CD as it is on IZZ albums. He possesses a warm, charismatic, and inviting voice. In part, this is just a gift of nature, but it’s also a result of his integrity. That is, it’s rather clear to any listener that Galgano believes in what he’s singing. But, Galgano is at his best when signing with, around, and next to Meade. Together, they sound like a chorus of the heavenly muses. If these voices are the ones I hear seconds after death, I’ll be confident I’m heading to the right place for eternity.
There are nine tracks, ranging from a minute and a half (bizarrely called “Galgano Bonus Track) to the full-blown epic, “1000.” Common themes–relationships, suffering, depression, redemption–predominate. When Galgano and Meade sing of love, it’s difficult to know if that love is transcendent of earthly. Regardless, it’s good. To be sure, it’s very good.
Nothing Added to nothing
Gives us lots of Nothing
The only thing
The only thing
The only thing
–John Galgano and Laura Meade, “The Only Thing”
Most readers of Progarchy know Galgano as one of the essential parts (and persons–let’s not be too uncouth here!) of the astounding American prog band, IZZ. In recent advertisements and billings, John Galgano solo is presented as “IZZ Lite.” From my listening of/to his excellent solo album, I can’t quite agree with the advertising, but I understand the meaning. Perhaps it might be better to state: Galgano solo is IZZ while the whole band is IZZ completed. Regardless, whether one might call this IZZ or IZZ Lite or IZZ completed, this solo album is an amazing and beautiful piece of art, radiating conviction in every one of its aspects.
Even Galgano’s CD package itself is a thing of beauty. The colors and fonts are tasteful, the image of the front cover, entitled “Cathedral” is quite stunning in a late-1950s Dave Brubeck-artful kind of way. [The title, the inside information reveals, comes from a line in Jewish humanist and existentialist Martin Buber’s, “I and Thou.”] Even the lettering of the lyrics is quite nice. While I love packaging in general, I rarely find anything beyond the actual artwork worth commenting on. Here, though, it’s worth praising. Overall, the packaging, the fonts–everything–is just, well, like the music itself, tasteful. The one thing I don’t get are the three dates subtly in the background: 1945, 1974, 1923. I’m sure these have some kind of meaning, but no explanation is offered.
It would be a crime to all art, all rock, and all prog should this release continue to be barely noticed by the music community. Sadly, I did not know about it until last December when I was playing around a bit at the IZZ website. As soon as I saw it (and the title captivated me, as it has great significance for many of my personal heroes, including T.S. Eliot, C.S. Lewis, and Christopher Dawson), I ordered it. Had I known about it earlier than the last month of the year, I would certainly have included it in my top CD picks of 2012.
I’ve been meaning to write this review for nearly five months now. Finally, here it is.
Order “Real Life is Meeting,” and cherish it. It’s a rare and precious thing, and it deserves every ounce of support we can offer.
Real life is meeting
I have known this house
There is copper in the soil
–John Galgano, “Real Life is Meeting, Pt. II”
For some reason, I’ve always been quite taken with the idea of the “cover,” a great group or artist remaking the old art into something new, profound, and tangible for a new audience.
Unfortunately, the result of the cover is often a mere imitation of the original. This, sadly, does nothing but waste everyone’s time. In this instance, I can’t help but think of Echo and the Bunnymen’s remake of “People are Strange.” It is almost note for note and instrument for instrument the same as the original by the Doors. No matter how great, Echo, they will simply not best a classic by merely imitating. There’s nothing even remotely interesting or unusual in the Echo version. They sound bored, and they probably are. Echo was simply too good to be a glorified cover band.
There are also inferior versions of a once great song that simply had never had a wide audience in the first place. Here, I think specifically of the Bangles remaking A Hazy Shade of Winter. The Simon and Garfunkel version is in every way superior except one. When it was originally released, A Hazy Shade of Winter appeared around a number of other attention-gathering songs off of the album, Bookends. It would’ve been pretty hard to complete with “Mrs. Robinson.” And, A Hazy Shade never became absorbed into American culture the way so many other Simon and Garfunkel songs did. When the Bangles released it in 1987, it climbed to #2 on the American pop charts. Who can forget first hearing that song, realizing the immense disconnect between a barely talented hack corporate band and some of the best lyrics ever written? No, it shouldn’t have succeeded, but it clearly did. Commercially, a success. Artistically, a travesty.
Over the last decade or so, though, a number of excellent songs have been covered by various prog bands. In each case, at least as I see it, the songs covered are–quite the opposite of the Bangles assault on and diminution of a classic–in most respects far better than the originals. Three things help account for this. First, some of this improving, I’m sure, is a product of better technology. Still, we can all think of examples where the newer technology has driven the life out of a song or an album. Technology, in the end, is a tool, neither good nor bad in and of itself but a means to a good or bad end.
Second, in ways that could never be measured, a remake is importantly the result of the love the artist of today feels for the artists and traditions of the past. The current prog artist has absorbed some beloved songs for years and years, and the songs have become an essential part of the art itself and of the artist herself or himself.
Third, very importantly, few progressive rock acts perform merely to be commercial. They do so for love of the art itself.
Again, let me go back to that Strawband, the Bangles. What did they have to offer to a Simon and Garfunkel song? Nothing in the least. Per the above three points. First, the technology made them mere apes, allowing them to present sanitary mimicking of a great song. Second, the Bangles play their version as though they’d only encountered the original version days or possibly hours before recording. Their version came out twenty years later, but it, in no way, feels as though an artist had absorbed that song for twenty years. Third, the Bangles wanted to cash in on a piece of art that failed to reach its full potential two decades earlier. And, they did. Again, a commercial success, but a artistic horror.
But, what about some wonderful, beautiful, intense, gorgeous covers?
Nosound’s remake of Pink Floyd’s 1971, “Echoes.” Four minutes longer than the original, the Nosound version not only records their version with affection, but there is an unmistakable Nosound sound. Where Floyd used a cold and rather impressive technology to make certain unusual sounds, Nosound substitutes a much greater organicism to the song.
The Reasoning’s remake of Duran Duran’s “The Chauffeur.” This was certainly the best and most interesting track off of Rio (1982). And, Rachel Cohen of the The Reasoning has never once hidden her admiration of the best rock of the 1980s. Matt, Rachel, and the others do wonders to the original, making it far, far superior. At once more delicate and yet harder than the original, The Reasoning makes this a serious work of art. Matt’s deep and haunting bass is especially good. But, so is Rachel’s voice. The Reasoning takes a good pop/rock song, and makes it a short but haunting masterpiece of prog.
Big Big Train’s “Master of Time.” Sheer bucolic glory. Next to the original by the former Genesis guitarist, BBT’s Master is a blatant and full-voiced work of immaculacy. It makes the original seem a fine sketch of a song, while paying all due homage to it. Even in its BBT’s intensity, joy multiplies as the song progresses, following NDV’s driving drums. If this isn’t a glimpse of a pre-fallen Eden, nothing is. And, yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if David Longdon’s voice has an angelic counterpart in the spheres far beyond this world.
Peter Gabriel’s Scratch Your Back, in many ways, corrects the errors of the Bangles. While the whole album is good, and Gabriel covers everyone from Elbow to David Bowie to the Talking Heads, nothing bests his own version of the Paul Simon song, “Boy in the Bubble.” While it’s not necessarily better than Simon’s version, it is a penetrating look at the darker aspects of the song. I would challenge anyone to listen to Gabriel’s version with headphones and not tearing up at the terrors and tragedies revealed anew in the lyrics. This might be Gabriel at his absolute highest as an artist. “These are the days of miracle and wonder. Don’t cry, baby. Don’t cry.”
Glass Hammer remaking Yes’s “South Side of the Sky.” This has been one of my two or three favorite Yes songs going back to my early childhood in the mid 1970s. Certainly, when I saw Yes play live in Grand Rapids for the 35th Anniversary tour, this song was the highlight. Nothing, however, prepared me for hearing Glass Hammer’s version when I first purchased “Culture of Ascent.” This cover is a perfect example of a band and a group of artists that had fully absorbed the song–every single aspect of it–over period of two or three decades. This song by Yes is simply an immense part of the DNA of Glass Hammer. And, it shows in every aspect of Glass Hammer’s version. Everything is simply perfect, and it’s as obvious as obvious can be that Glass Hammer recorded and produced their version with nothing but love, pure and unadulterated love. And, dare I say it without risking the reader just switching off and heading to the wilds of a new website. . . Susie Bogdanowicz was born to sing this song.
There are other songs I’d love to write about, but time prevents me at the moment from doing so. Let me just conclude with this. When a cover is done well and with love, it’s a hard thing to beat. And, while I would never want the current progressive moment to become imitative at its heart, it’s a healthy thing to remember and honor those who came before us. In particular, I think there are a number of songs from the 80s that were brilliant in their time, but could really benefit from being progged up. Imagine Thomas Dolby’s One of Submarines redone as full-blown prog. Or, Big Country’s The Seer. Or, The Cure’s Disintegration. Or, New Model Army’s Whitecoats.
So much to be done. So little time.
I know that I can get into all kinds of trouble for stating this, but, when covers are done well, they’re often even better than the originals. And, I don’t mean to degrade the originals. For example, I think NDV’s Rewiring Genesis does an even better job at LAMB LIES DOWN than did Genesis originally. Heresy??? Maybe. But, it’s true.
Here’s another example. I love Pink Floyd’s Echoes. I was probably 14 or so when my friend and sometime debate colleague, Darrin, showed me Pink Floyd’s Live in Pompei on laser disc. I was blown away.
But, this version (linked below) is even better. I’m sure production and technological advances have something do with it. But, I also think it’s because the covers do come later, and the folks who cover them often have integrated the songs into their very being in ways the original writers probably didn’t.
Yes, start writing crazy things about me in the posts comments! At 45, I’m thick skinned enough to take it!!!
So, here’s the cover and the masterpiece: Nosound’s version of Pink Floyd’s Echoes. Makes me just sigh in wonder. Erra is a genius. And, he “just gets it.”