Exposé Online banner

Brainticket — Alchemic Universe
(Hologram HOL 2001, 2000, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2003-02-01

Alchemic Universe Cover artAlchemic Universe is more or less the work of Joel Vandroogenbroeck (recording under the name of “Mystery Hologram A-U-rchestra”), with some spoken vocals by Carole Muriel. The text, by Lance Banda, tends to the new-agey (“Where have I been all my life?”). The keyboards combine digital and analog sounds, and the programmed percussion parts vary widely, from conventional drums to highly processed noises. There’s even a brief interlude of cocktail piano accompanied by strange sound effects in the second track, “Transformation of a Stream.” While Brainticket would certainly have to be classified as electronic music, it doesn’t sound much like current electronica – there are no endless arpeggios and thumping kick drums here, though an occasional quick edit or 32nd note fill shows awareness of current trends. There are definite nods to space rock (with echoing swoops and tinkles), new age (with silky pads of chords, breathy flute melodies, and philosophical-sounding narration), progressive (with complex multipart arrangements) and experimental (with some lengthy sections of knob-twiddling). The recording is very clear and expansive, avoiding the sterile, contrived sound of many one-man-band projects. Vandroogenbroeck has an interesting take on the keyboard solo artist category, and my only real complaint is that there are a few of the analog effects jump out of the mix a bit too harshly.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 26, 2000 releases

Related artist(s): Brainticket

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Haystacks Balboa - Detoxified – This one came out around 1970, a one-off by a New York based band whose members weren't even listed on the LP jacket, and were never heard from again, so far as this writer knows. For some unknown...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues