Long time underground legend and iconic electronic music pioneer PJ Wassermann.
About the new EP “In High Spirits”
By Tara Julia Hill, January 2018.
The new ChillyTrippyDippy EP “In High Spirits” contains the tracks
“In High Spirits”,
“Erotic Luxury” and
Composed, performed and produced by PJ Wassermann. Mixed in Ibiza by Lasse Illinton. Additional drums on “In High Spirits” by Juan dell’Erba.
Long time underground legend and iconic electronic music pioneer PJ Wassermann’s career still flourishes after four decades of producing, programming and performing under various artist aliases ranging from commercial successes such as «Matterhorn Project» to the experimental fringes of «Eternal Bliss» (Psy-Trance)
Best known for his recently revived, groundbreaking electro project Schaltkreis Wassermann (with late, beloved wife Stella) which – after its vinyl re-release of the landmark «Psychotron» (1982) album, remixes by the likes of cosmic-icon Daniele Baldelli and Deep-House-Toby Tobias and last year’s «Early Works» compilation– enjoys an ever expanding worldwide cult following among seasoned krautrock- and cosmic-disco-peers as well as hip millenial generation blog-heads and contemporary fans of analogue retro synthscapes.
«ChillyTrippydippy» represents the veteran Swiss-Ibizenco music producer’s chilled out balearic side. Best known as a Live Act equipped with his favorite Fender Stratocaster, a roland VG99 aswell as back-up drums, dancers and trippy visuals by VJ Asteriza, it shows the playful inner youth within a mature and experienced musical genius. After almost half a century of part-time Ibizan residence, the self-described «old hippy» knows the ingredients of the infamous Chill Out Electronica vibe first hand
«In High Spirits» (2018) captures the charismatic guru’s role as an experienced spiritual leader and cosmic shaman. With his smooth sounds and suave appearance, PJ Wassermann’s Live Act almost reminisces a musical alter ego of the late hippie mystic Alan Watts.
After «Triple E» (2004) and «Space Drone Salad» (2914) this brand new release again proves Wassermann’s ability to transport the vibes of his long and artfully improvised live sessions into a cinematic composition, state-of-the-art soundscape and skilled mixdown (mixed by fellow Ibiza resident Lasse Illinton).
The seemingly effortless chi flow of his subtle beat programming and soft synth stabs form a delicate contrast to Wassermann’s longing and wistful solo guitar – recorded live last summer at legendary, aptly named «Summer never ends» and «Return to Paradise» festivals.
Staying true to his own Flower Power-slogan «Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out», the three tracks encapsulate the laid back groove of an Ibizan sunset at his favorite spot San Miguel and invite the audience to get hypnotized by its «Pantha Rei» flow state, get lost in whirls of sea and sand and rejoice in starry-eyed glints of sunbeams through the shades of an appropriate musical dosage of psychedelic purple haze.
Track by track, they form a journey filled with mellow solo guitar cries and chirps to uplift its audience’s vibrations until they become one in a blurry unity sharing the same synasthetic, ecstatic experience.
“In High Spirits”, opens with the calling in of higher states of consciousness, inviting etheric beings and thousands of followers to an extended ritual drumming session (additional drums added by Juan dell’Erba),
“Erotic Luxury”, presents a sensual display of a beautiful bareskinned female’s selfless dancing and skinny dipping into the late Sunday evening hours at the legendary Benirràs beach,
• “Each Moment”, ends with a mindful meditation on the duty to follow one’s bliss and savour every moment of this crazy little thing called life.
Text by Tara Julia Hill, January 2018
In PJ Wassermann’s own words
Some people call me an old hippy. Although I don’t wear Indian clothes that’s not too far away from the truth as I still like these 60ies slogans of “Love, Peace and Freedom” and “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out”. Additionally since I was a little boy I loved Science Fiction – not the stupid kind of today’s SF war movies but the cool stuff from Philipp K. Dick, Robert A. Heinlein, Philip Jose Farmer, Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert and so on. This might explain why I’ve been into electronic music so heavily and for so long and why on the other hand I enjoy the acoustic nylon string guitar and extended drumming sessions on the beaches of Ibiza.
My first musical instrument had been the Basel Fasnacht (carnival) drum that I started to play at the age of 7. Then at 14 I picked up the guitar and quickly learned to play and sing most of the Beatles’ songs. Later I got into Blues and Blues Rock and this music turned me on to the electric guitar. When psychedelics hit the music scene I became a big fan of Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd and I played with wah, echo, distortion and flanging, always searching for the most spaced-out sounds. Logically soon after, synthesizers became my instruments of choice. I got hold of an ARP 2600 to experiment with, a beautiful synth that I still love to play.
In 1981 Stella and I founded our Space-Sound-Studio and for many years to come our lives centered around electronic music. We had our own artistic projects, the most well-known one is Schaltkreis Wassermann that today is considered to be one of the pioneering electronic groups of the early eighties. The Schaltkreis album PSYCHOTRON of 1982 has become a much sought after cult object. In June 2012 it has been re-released on vinyl by Berlin label Private Records. But in the 80ies we hardly made any money with our own records. In Italy we were very popular in the Cosmic scene but we had no idea about it as there was no internet at the time. In England the album was at Nr. 5 in the synth charts of Melody Maker but still no money coming in. So we lived on the jingles and the movie and video soundtracks that I composed and produced.
Most of our earnings got re-invested into musical hardware and in 1985 we leased a Fairlight CMI IIx, one of the first samplers ever. We boasted that we could make cows sing and a movie-maker caught on to this so we actually produced a track for him with singing cows. Finally it wasn’t used in his commercial but a music publisher heard it and said: “This is a hit, you must make a record.” He was right, “MUH!” by Matterhorn Project was a number 2 hit in Switzerland, number 5 in South Africa and was released in Japan and most of Europe. We then had another top ten hit single “Yo-lollo-Diuh”, a yodeling disco track, and the following album also hit the charts. This was the first time we earned a little bit of money with our own records and so we stuck to this project for a while. But it also moved us to a much more commercial style and Stella and I later regretted that because it had lead us off our path as psychedelic electronic pioneers.
By the mid 90ies I got tired of making jingles and movie soundtracks and producing other artists. Some of our own records did quite well, especially my Goa/psyTrance project “Eternal Bliss” with the album “Pyramids”, but we never made enough to support our little family. So I started to do software jobs and finally found my niche of developing databases for all kinds of clients. That kept me quite busy but I always kept on making music, for instance Stella’s two solo albums “The Palace of Yin” and “L’Ame de la Lune” and my first solo album “Triple E”. Then in 2008 Stella got diagnosed with breast cancer and sadly she died in 2011. I miss her as a lover and a friend and I also miss her lovely and exciting voice.
Now I’m back into live music with my projects
• “ChillyTrippyDippy”, the psychedelic chillout music that you can hear on this website here,
• the revived “Schaltkreis Wassermann” (electronica / minimal synth) and
• “Eternal Bliss” (psyTrance).