ALBUM OF THE DAY:
Joel Vandroogenbroeck
Biomechanoïd

February 12, 2014   Editors' Picks

'Biomechanoid' album cover

Joel Vandroogenbroeck
Biomechanoïd
(Colorsound Library, 1980)

“After listening to this record, your friends may not know you anymore,” reads the disclaimer on Brainticket’s vaguely terrifying acid-test album, Cottonwoodhill. “Only listen to this once a day; your brain might be destroyed!”

That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. The two-part, 25-minute track that gave the Krautrock group its name and brought the curtain down on their undeniably demented debut was beyond bonkers, a nightmarish blend of jackhammer hooks, poison-tipped poetry, ravenous field recordings and guitar-led locked grooves. This is what happens when the drugs work all too well, it seems to say. Loudly.

Which is a major reason why it took less than five years for Belgium’s leading cosmonauts to earn a less than favorable rep with conservative folks, to the point where their acid-fried frontman (Joel Vandroogenbroeck) happily decamped to Bali in pursuit of a solo career when the pressure to censor Brainticket’s madness became too great. Biomechanoid fills in the gaps between the multi-instrumentalist’s palette-cleansing experiments with gamelan instruments and his eventual pursuit of liquified synth loops. Set for a proper vinyl reissue through Aguirre Records next month and available through Spotify and other digital outlets now, the album hasn’t aged a bit. If anything, it’s as relevant as ever, from its Alien-related H.R. Giger cover to its night sweats take on ambient music.