The music project “Yuri Cosmonaut” is a tribute to Yuri Gagarin, the ultimate hero of my childhood. As a little boy, I would gaze through my telescope at the endless expanse of the sky, dreaming of a journey to the stars. Gagarin, the first human in space, was my idol. While the world’s televisions still flickered in black and white, he bravely strapped himself to a massive rocket and pushed the boundaries of what was possible. On my musical journey, I feel like a modern cosmonaut, constantly searching for new, unexplored electronic soundscapes.

The 1980s, a time of musical magic, left a deep impression on me. Back then, you could find affordable 7-inch singles in every department store, and I spent all my pocket money on them. Each week, I carefully considered which record I could afford. Synthesizer sounds captivated me – screeching guitars were never my thing! Bands like Depeche Mode, Yazoo, Erasure, Kraftwerk and Yello provided the soundtrack to my youth. And then there were those unforgettable electronic pop hits like Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” and Kim Wilde’s “Cambodia,” which became my personal anthems.

My entry into music production was far from glamorous. My somewhat unmusical parents thought the flute was the best instrument for a budding musician. After a few years of tediously practicing scales, my enthusiasm waned. However, my extensive record collection became well-known, and soon I was the DJ for our class parties starting in the 6th grade. In the 90s, as techno took over the world, I was right in the thick of it – either behind the decks or as an enthusiastic partygoer. Mixtapes were my thing and an absolute hit, and the fact that they were officially illegal only made them cooler. Incidentally, my latest album “Final Landing” was first released on cassette as a tribute to that era.

Although I never learned to play a proper instrument, I delved deeply into music theory and harmony and began to experiment. In 2004, I founded the electropop project “Chekov & Gagarin” with my friend Michi. Our highlight was the music video for our cover of Kim Wilde’s “View From A Bridge,” which was repeatedly broadcast on the music channel VIVA – an unforgettable experience.

And “View From A Bridge” is more than just a song for me; it has been a constant companion throughout my life. As a child and teenager, I endlessly listened to Kim Wilde’s tracks and dreamed of one day creating something of my own with her music. In 2002, this dream became a reality with the help of Propellerhead’s “Reason” software – finally, I could bring my musical visions to life without needing all those incredibly expensive synthesizers.

In 2023, I revisited the recordings from 2004 and decided to tackle the project again. In the meantime, I had learned a lot, set up a nice little studio during the COVID-19 pandemic, and decided to give the song another go. This time, I sang the vocals myself with the help of a vocoder, inspired by the title track of the “Drive” soundtrack: Kavinsky’s “Nightcall.” I opted for a broken beat and rough analogue tones – it was never meant to be a commercial version of the song, but rather a modern reinterpretation with strong musical influences from the 80s. The video was created by the Russian filmmaker Anna Tolipova, who had moved to Armenia due to the dreadful war. The two dancers in the video belong to a Belarusian dance group from Minsk, combining voguing, hip-hop, and breakdance. This fusion of various influences from the last 40 years perfectly matched my song, in my opinion. I am very happy with the video.

In 2024, the idea of creating a club version with a “4 to the floor” beat emerged – a remix of my cover version from the previous year, with the intention of playing it on the dance floor. The accompanying video on YouTube was again delivered by Anna Tolipova with a fantastic cast that perfectly interprets the song’s lyrics.

This is likely the final chapter of the song for me.

For the past few years, I have also started working with hardware synths in the studio. Often, the first versions of a track are recorded live and only later refined “in the box” with software. Having a real synthesizer in front of me and turning the physical knobs is incredibly inspiring. The resulting “lucky accidents” always enrich my music. Moreover, I often think about eventually performing live – ideally on a warm summer night with a retro laser show on the “Sonnendeck” in my hometown of Baden, Switzerland or at the cultural venue and former cinema Royal, also in Baden. Maybe it will happen someday.

With my Spotify playlist, I invite everyone to dive into my sound cosmos. “Yuri Cosmonaut” is more than just a project – it is a journey through time, inspired by the sounds and dreams of the 1980s:

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