In July 2017 London based Cherry Red Records published the four CD compilation NOISE REDUCTION SYSTEM – Formative European Electronica 1974-1984. Cherry Red Records prides itself to be “releasing and reissuing the most innovative and independent thinking music since 1978.”
On this prestigious collection you find LUX by Schaltkreis Wassermann, along with tracks by Vangelis, Klaus Schulze, Yello, DAF, Maurizio Binachi and many more avantgarde artists from this exciting period of electronic music.
The extensive booklet of NOISE REDUCTION SYSTEM, actually it’s a nice and very informative little book, contains this information about LUX:
LUX originated as a soundtrack to an experimental 16mm movie made by students of Basel Art Academy (Schule für Gestaltung Basel) in the early 80ies. The movie consisted of only the word LUX in black on white ground or LUX in white on black ground. These inverted pictures were cut sometimes slowly and sometimes very fast to create a stroboscopic effect while LUX was moved in different ways. The after images in the beholder’s eye would create fascinating patterns.
As the movie was done at 24 frames per second and as 24 can be divided by 3 and by 4 I had the idea to use a musical time signature of four beats of three triplets and another one of three beats of four 16ths at the same time. This would create an interesting ambiguity between the two time signatures and it worked really well with the movie. The noise „hi hats“ at 12 hits per second marked the basic timing that was common to both signatures. There was no musical pitch, all sounds were just noise, created on the ARP 2600 and the ARP Avatar, with some 808 claps added.
Stella and I were both fascinated by this early movie version of LUX and we decided to create a more musical version that ended up on our first album PSYCHOTRON that is considered to be cult these days. Again the sounds were provided by the ARP 2600 and the ARP Avatar but also by the Roland 100M modular system and the Prophet V. The latter provided the slowly evolving sound that I like a lot in this track. Overall the album version is musically much more interesting.
PSYCHOTRON was distributed all over the world and it hit the number 5 spot in the New Musical Express synth charts. The album, and especially LUX, was a big hit in Italy’s Cosmic scene (Beppe Loda, Daniele Baldelli) but we didn’t know anything about it as there was no internet in the 80ies. We only heard about it around 2004 when we met New York based Swiss DJ Alex Gloor („In Flagranti“) who had been a big fan of Schaltkreis Wassermann for a long time.
In 2012 PSYCHOTRON got re-released on vinyl by Berlin’s Private Records. In spring of 2016 there was another double vinyl on Private Records called SKW and featuring unreleased stuff from the early 80ies plus some edits and singles. There is a CD version of PSYCHOTRON with some additional tracks.
Today PJ Wassermann has gone live again as Schaltkreis Wassermann playing the Roland SY-300 guitar synth and some additional sound modules.
Get it here: NOISE REDUCTION SYSTEM by Cherry Red Records.