[sic] Magazine

The Psychedelic Schafferson Jetplane – Surfin’ Krautlifornia

Thanks to the sterling work of the likes of Mexican Summer, HoZac and Sacred Bones, the Chilean psychedelic scene has now been blown wide open. No longer far-flung strangers, exponents such as LA Hell Gang (whose KB Cabala was in Cindy Sisters with The Psychedelic Schafferson Jetplane’s Vicente Siechewitz way back in 2006), The Holydrug Couple and Föllakzoid, the latter of whom happens to own the Blow Your Mind imprint on which Surfin’ Krautlifornia is released, get most of the movement’s current plaudits, but hot on their heels is a new breed and Siechewitz’s solo project, which confusingly also seems to go by the name of Foxtrot Sierra and The Uniforms, is undoubtedly one of them.

Berlin-based these days, Siechewitz’s psychedelic instrumentals to date have been built on funky hand drums and Chinese gongs. On Surfin’ Krautlifornia these are both kept to a minimum. Hand drums are mostly replaced in favour of the calculated compressions of machine programmes, really only becoming noticeable during the indecently funky “Krautlifornian Jam”, which is spun out, naturally, on kosmiche repeats and psychedelic wah wah, the addition of organ also lending the track a deep, lounge exotica vibe, but Siechewitz’s lounge is resolutely decked out in all the excessive trappings of the 70s. The synthy, sci-fi meander of “R3P0M4N”, too, grooves like a cop-show theme tune from that decade – only played at too slow a speed, strutting in slo-mo while a mid-distance surf-psych solo picks out a cool passage of bedding music. The wandering “Local Riders On Your Tail” harks from ten years earlier on the other hand. One of those easy-going jams, it opens with the sound of manic laughing, a stoned groove once more cruising alongside blatant funk, the crackle of distortion fraying the whole’s manicured edges.

Surfin’ Krautlifornia is again entirely instrumental aside from the chatter of police radio and snatches of what sounds like mission control. Siechewitz relies on heavy-lidded hooks in the place of lyrics and they’re often rendered indistinct with pedal effects. Quality jammer “Shark Surfin’”, for example, comes on like Wooden Shjips as a result, whereas the dials are set to maximum fuzz on “Dodge Wheels”, its synth charting an uneasy melody up hill and down dale. Neat wah wah work in turn gets the full flanger treatment on “Hooked On Krautlifornia”, sweeping up and down the frequency spectrum to help differentiate it from the rest of the running order. And, when you pay attention, each track has such a motif: showy organ adding a little glitter here, dreamy drift zoning out into blissful ambience there. All the same, just as you think that Surfin’ Krautlifornia is getting a bit samey, “Pirates In The Air (2057)” deploys some jet-stream roar sounding like a whole planet deflating as it goes. For those not averse to to the funkier side of contemporary krautadelia it’s the perfect sting in the tail.

~Surfin’ Krautlifornia is released May 27th 2016 via Blow Your Mind.~