The journey to the true soul of the analog sound began more than 40 years ago: on his way back home from school, ®es discovered a guitar neck sticking out of a garbage bag. Although it was only a small children's guitar with 3 strings, ®es was immediately spellbound. Within a few minutes he cut the first plectrum from a yoghurt pot and began playing his favorite melody over and over again: the famous Vicky the Vicking theme. Since that very day ®es was searching the world for the best electric guitar sounds.
Very soon he discovered his absolute favorite instrument: the Fender Stratocaster. Built since 1954, this guitar revolutionized the sound of the musical history in a way no other instrument did. The solid body guitar - with 3 hand-coiled pickups that can be combined differently - opened up completely new dimensions to musicians. ®es had found the love of his life.
However, he realized soon that Fender had built really magical instruments only until 1965 - before mass production traded craftsmanship and magic down.
That's the reason ®es started traveling the world on a visionary search for the most valuable woods and other secret ingredients. He even began to coil his own pickups by hand - not only to preserve the true magic of the Strato but also to guide it into new dimensions and stratospheres.
I, Florian "doc" Kaps, had the honor to visit ®es in his legendary Strato Zoo in Grenchen (Switzerland) for the very first time in 2014. After only a few minutes and the first cup of self-grounded coffee I realized that ®es became one of the last guardians of an incredible treasure: magical analog sound.
®es has not only dedicated his life to these touching vibrations, but he also created a place with countless instruments and sound documents that guarantee that the true soul of these analog sounds will fascinate people forever.
Founded in 1993 by ®es Kaufmann, the STRATO ZOO - located in Grenchen, 90km west of Zurich – is maybe one of the most exciting, yet undiscovered jewels of the worldwide analog revival.
STRATO ZOO is manifold, but most of all it's a place where the fascinating variety of the Stratocaster guitar is being celebrated, and where the terrestrial meets with the extraterrestrial, just like in the stratosphere.
In countless All Analog Live Recording Sessions, ®es Kaufmann has not only created an invaluable archive of high quality vinyl editions, but also a unique collection with invaluable treasures of analog recording technology and musical instruments.
In cooperation with ®es we are now making a selection of STRATO ZOO elements available to the public.