CD sound quality and my new psyChill album SpaceDroneSalad

Just finished mastering of my new psyChill album SpaceDroneSalad. In the course of the mastering work I listened frequently to CDs that I had burned and I was blown away by the sound quality compared to mp3s and AACs that we got so used to listening to. Maybe there will be a comeback of the CD for people who want to LISTEN to music and not just having it as a background noise…

SpaceDroneSalad will be released soon in Switzerland on my own label HyperDisc, distributed by Fontastix.

I’m thinking about releasing a vinyl version and maybe NOT releasing it on iTunes, Spotify etc. for quite a while.

Looking for a music management

From 1980 to nearly 2000 I was a professional musician with my own electronic production studio (that was a rarity at that time). I regularly released records (Schaltkreis Wassermann) and had some hits (Matterhorn Project) but most of the money I made came from making music in the realms of movie and video soundtracks, jingles and radio advertisements.

In the late 90ies I got tired of investing my musical passion into contract work and I started doing software jobs. After a couple of years I specialized into developing databases with FilemakerPro which I still do today. I like the intellectual challenge of writing software and I appreciate that I mostly have to use my brain and not so much of my heart for earning my living.

I’ve always continued to make my own music, now freed from commercial restrictions (my own chillout solo albums, producing two solo albums for my wife Stella Wassermann, developing my live psyTrance project Eternal Bliss and producing other artists). In the last couple of years the wish to spend more time as a musician again has become stronger. I don’t want to abandon my software jobs but I want to be touring with my live projects from time to time and make my recorded music known on a larger scale.

Currently I have a new psyChill album nearly finished that will be released under my name of PJ Wassermann. I have a couple of new electronica tracks that will become a new album of Schaltkreis Wassermann, maybe even a double album with all the Schaltkreis material that I have made for my concerts with Stella in 2009 and 2010 before she tragically died in 2011. I also have a new ambient album ready.

To release all this music and to manage my live gigs I need professional help. With my daytime jobs I just have time left for making my music. I can’t search for a label, promote the recordings and do bookings – I just don’t have the time. So if you have any suggestions for a good and efficient management that respects my artistic integrity then please get in touch with me…

Report from Copenhagen Climate Conference

Report from a climate activist:

I wish I had more time to update you on many things that are going on here, but here go at least some key issues that are happening… especially because the situation has become most urgent: a huge assault is going on towards civil society here in Copenhagen.

A number of you have expressed feelings of appreciation for me coming over here with you all in my heart… Well, know that your interests and those of future generations are represented here by thousands of people from all sorts of groups from around the world. Now, everyone knew police presence would be high and there could be tension… but over the last days, the police tactic has been to a „preventively“ arrest large groups of people – you may have heard of the 900 arrests during the large peaceful march of 100.000 people last Saturday. I know some of the people who were arrested: they are interpreters, NGO volunteers… who were forced to sit on the ground with their hands tied behind their backs in the freezing cold for 5 hours or more… some even had to piss themselves because they were not allowed to get up and use a toilet. Others were kept in cages and pepper-sprayed while they were in them! All but a dozen people were freed with no charge – they had done nothing wrong. Last night, Christiania (a very special alternative neighbourhood) was assaulted especially harshly during a party where many friends and co-workers were (I would have been there, except I had to interpret last night!), with tear gas bombs, water trucks, dogs and hundreds of police, who terrified people and made selective arrests – they knew who they wanted, and it was the leaders of some of the main movements and networks, the great majority of them peaceful. Things have escalated today: the social movements offered a press conference to denounce last night’s detentions, and shortly after even more leaders, plus most of those who gave the press conference, were also detained. All these detentions are being carried out under the strict Danish law that allows such preventive measures for little or no reason. And why are they doing this, you may wonder? Well, because the social movements are organising and acting together due to the following main issues:

a) the fact that at the official meeting in Bella Center, it is not our governments negotiating in our names to save the climate: it is about corporations sharing out the carbon credit cake. Even hardened activists are shocked at how openly business representatives are trying to make the most bucks out of the proposed carbon markets and Clean Development Mechanisms… the lobbyists are cajolling and bullying their way around… in a nutshell, the corporations have complete hold over the negotiators and the whole process inside the Bella Center – it is not transparent and certainly not in the benefit of the people nor the planet.

Not to mention how developed countries are trying to squeeze their way out of any legally binding limits on the pollution they spew out, whether it’s greenhouse gases or agrochemicals or toxic waste… and the misery they cause to economically poorer countries… This part deserves a whole other email!

b) the fact that the solutions that are being provided to deal with the cllimate problem are „false solutions“:

* trading markets (putting the problems in the hand of the very economists who caused the financial crisis)
* geoengineering (with a handful of countries and scientists intending to use untested technology at a scale that would affect the natural cycles and systems that regulate our whole planet – such as sending out nanoparticles to make the clouds whiter so they can reflect more sun, or placing giant mirrors in space, or using biochar at a massive scale)
* industrial agriculture (supposedly to feed the world – in a world where 40% of food is wasted -, noble words which hide incredible perversions regarding factory farming, transgenics and other new ‚bio’technologies, free trade agreements, water and land grabbing…)
* agrofuels (or prettily called ‚bio’fuels, by forcing the South to move away from food crops and chop down their forests to grow fuel for our cars in the North, instead of reducing our own consumption)

By the way, one real solution that would seriously help with the food, energy and climate crises that we face is „food sovereignty“ and small-scale peasant agriculture 🙂

Points a + b mean that they are negotiating the terms of the contracts that will bind us all further to a system in which everything is for sale, even the air we breathe… and who gets what is being decided by a bunch of corporations whose plans will only worsen our future prospects!

c) Civil society had thousands of representatives in Bella Center for the first few days. Yesterday, all of a sudden, new accreditations were required and civil society representation was cut by 40%. Now they will cut it down by 80% and for the final days (when Obama & Co. are there to „sign the deal“), they will only allow 90 observers from civil society!!! To witness (not vote) one of the most significant international deals ever!!! All the more so because it will affect our changing our climate immensely…

And the people who represent you and I and all of us, who are the civil society movements here present, are seeing this and denouncing it – and that is why the police are being used to repress the voices of the people and our possibility to act!

What can you do at this point to support those of us who are trying to defend you?

* Start by calling the Danish embassy in your country and demanding that the unfair, unprovoked detentions stop, and tell them that the outside world is watching them, even if it is not on the mainstream media
* Tell all your press and media contacts to follow this story – there will be press releases going out about this all over the world, but the media need to pick up on them. As soon as I get my hands on the official press releases that will come out tomorrow, I will send them on.
* Put this out on Facebook etc… but please protect my anonimity!
* Organise a protest in front of the Danish embassy in your country, of UN offices, your own government, or other places you may think of.
* Use your imagination!

There are thousands of activists here, normal, lovely people like you and me, that are prepared to give a lot here in order to turn this around. We will be marching tomorrow, 16th of Dec, in the streets of Copenhagen to denounce the lack of transparency, the corporate control and the false solutions that are being pushed onto us, and the lack of a space for civil society to be heard. We know it is likely to turn nasty however peacefully we march. We need your support and encouragement. We need you to be alert and make this a global call for social justice and climate justice.

With much love and hope,

PS. Here are links to news of the arrests and tomorrow’s march, on The Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/15/copenhagen-194-arrests

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/15/danish-police-mass-protest-copenhagen

LSD and musical creativity

Sometimes young musicians ask me about using psychedelics to work creatively and I tell them about our times in the late seventies and early eighties when Stella and I started working on the PSYCHOTRON album of our Schaltkreis Wassermann project and usually took some LSD (info at Erowid) more or less every weekend. At that time we were in close contact with Dr. Albert Hofmann, discoverer of LSD, and Prof. Jiri Roubicek, the Czech psychiatrist who had done intensive research on LSD healing of psychiatric patients together with Stanislav Grof. We would have loved to set up our experiments under scientific supervision but that wasn’t possible at that time. Anyway, this is what turned out to be our findings and our favorite method.

Cover of the Psychotron Album by Schaltkreis Wassermann
Cover of the Psychotron Album by Schaltkreis Wassermann

As outlined by Timothy Leary set and setting are the determining factors for a psychedelic experience. Set being the mood you’re in when you take the substance and setting the place, surroundings and people you’re with. So you have to carefully think about where you can be without being disturbed, preferably in a pleasant environment with people you like and who’ll be supporting and positive. Of course it helps to be in a balanced mood yourself and without any tensions with the people you’re with. It is best to have eaten some light but substantial food like Muesli, fruit and nuts about two to three hours before taking the substance.

Stella Wassermann with Dr. Albert Hofmann in the 90ies
Stella Wassermann with Dr. Albert Hofmann in the 90ies

After the ingestion there’s a waiting period of about 20 to 40 minutes and then the action starts to set in. You’ll begin to notice that your visual and aural perception changes. With closed eyes you see colorful whirling patterns and maybe you start to wonder who you really are. The effect gets stronger and stronger until it reaches a peak. Its height depends on the dosage you’ve chosen and of course on set and setting. After the peak you come down a bit to a plateau level where the psychedelic effect is still clearly there but not overwhelming anymore. This is the time to work musically. If you have some kind of a studio it’s practical to have set up, turned on and tested everything before embarking.

Timothy Leary on blotter paper
Timothy Leary on blotter paper

We found that moderate dosages of 80 to 120 or maximum 150 micrograms work best for electronic music. You don’t want to feel sorry to sit in front of a screen or an electronic keyboard when the effect is so strong that you’d prefer to be in nature, dancing or just lying on the bed with your beloved one and let your mind float. You need to be enough down to earth to think logically but still wired to the astral spheres and in direct contact with your intuition. Of course you must know the ins and outs of your instruments – you don’t want to read a manual in that state, it would be a terrible waste of energy. Playing a real instrument like the guitar is even more rewarding, you can be pretty sure to make some interesting or even amazing progress.

The ARP 2600 synthesizer that we enjoyed to work with at that time
The ARP 2600 synthesizer that we enjoyed to work with at that time

For us it worked best to be out in nature for the first stages. If you don’t live in the country you would need a tripsitter to drive you home or to the studio safely and pleasantly. Maybe you need some nuts or dried fruit before work to give the body some energy.

Unfortunately in these times of repression it is very difficult to know about exact dosage and purity of substances. If you find a good source then it’s best to get yourself some supply, start out with low dosages and then slowly approach the right level that works for you.

Have fun, get wise and create well!

Disclaimer
This advice isn’t meant to encourage anybody to take illegal drugs. If you really have to take it:
– Don’t buy from anybody who gives you a bad or insecure feeling.
– Always start out with a low dosage to test what you got.
– Do not drive under any circumstance! Stay away from cars, traffic and machinery in general.