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Friday, March 31, 2023

The In Sound From Way Out! - Perrey - Kingsley


Cosmic Ballad

The In Sound From Way Out!
Electronic Pop Music of The Future created by Perrey-Kingsley
Gershon Kingsley & Jean Jacques Perrey
Vanguard VSD-7922

From the back cover: Jean Jacques Perrey, who set out toaster the machines that threatened to be the masters of men, was born in 1929 in the North of France. From his early childhood he showed a strong passion for science and music. He was to be a doctor, but music had the greater gravitational pull, and he finally devoted himself to electronic music. Then during a trip to the United States in 1965, he met Gershon Kingsley. The two felt an immediate magnetic attraction, missing out of their common interest in how music and electronics could add to the joy of life.

Gershon Kingsley has many musical trades and is a master of all of them. Having studied at the Los Angeles conservatory, Columbia University and the Juilliard School of Music, he is a band of wide culture and a fitted composer of classical music. He is also a respect figure on Broadway, as arranger and conductor of La Plume de mon tante, Fly Blackbird, and The Cradle Will Rock revival. He has done the arrangements for many notable Vanguard albums, ranging from Netania Davrath's New Songs Of The Auvergne and Jan Peerce's Neapolitan Serenade to the hilarious, Swinging Mozart After Hours.

Kingsley and Perrey decided to pool their talents to produce a record of electronic musical joy and wit. Kingsley had long had the idea of "bringing electronic music to the public." Perrey wanted "to take the mystery out of the legend that says electronic music is an art that is esoteric, exclusively reserved for a few initiates, an elite of avant-garde intellectuals and artist." he added, "I think that for some years electronic music has been going up a one-way street." Both he and Kingsley agree that "it deserves to be raised to the level a popular music, a music designed for fun and relaxation." And so Vanguard Records set up a laboratory in New York for the Perrey-Kingsley experimental researches.

In this laboratory, anew process was created which Perrey calls "Electronic Sono-syntheses." To produce these syntheses they use not only musical instruments from electronic sources (Jenny Ondioline, Martenot Waves, etc.) but also sounds of natural origin (i.e. mystique concréte). These sounds were modified, transited, transformed, to the point of changing their harmonic structure, making out of them new, unprecedented original sonorities. Each sound thus created was then pre-recorded on tape, classified, catalogued by frequency, timber and "tendency." At the time of composing the "musical phrase," each sound was "isolated" and selected according to its nature. The sonorities were then painstakingly assembled by splicing each bit of tape together manually with micrometry precision to form the "melodic line" and/or the rhythmic structure of the piece chosen.

The synthetic rhythmic-melodic tape track thus created was then carefully synchronized with music played by live musicians on both electronic and natural instruments as well as with electronic sounds produced by oscillators, tone generators and feedback loops. Finally, through a complicated process of intricate overdubbing, the lies of which we believe have never before been done to this extent on records, a multi-channel tape master was produced embodying a synthesis of all electronic and natural elements.

A lot of patience was required, for what is heard on this record represents the intricately condensed and selected product of 275 hours of work in the laboratory, and the use of several miles of magnetic tape. As for the tools used in this delicate operation, they were several tape recorders turning at exactly the same speed, an 18 channel mixer, the prerecorded tapes, splicing tape and – we hate to say this after the preceding highly technical buildup – a plain, ordinary pari of scissors. But it must be also admitted that the most important tool was one that has been operating in human affairs even before the scissors, and will continue to operate when we are far out in the space age; namely, the imagination.

From Billboard, November 5, 1966: This recording of electronic pop music created by Gershon Kingsley and Jean Jacques Perrey is so far out it may become in.Adventuresome deejays can have a ball with some of these surprisingly danceable, melodic contrivances like "Swan's Splashdown (Swan Lake)," "Countdown At 6 (Dance Of The Hours)." "The Little Man From Mars,""Electronic Can-Can," "Visa To The Stars," etc.

Unidentified Flying Object
The Little Man From Mars
Cosmic Ballad
Swan's Splashdown
Countdown at 6 Barnyard Orbit
Spooks In Space
Girl From Venus
Electronic Can-Can
Jungle Blues From Jupiter
Computer In Love
Visa To The Stars


  1. Ooh, you found a copy of this classic, eh? For how much?

    1. At a "charity shop" along with a few relatively common Jackie Gleason LPs for $1.50. Imagine my surprise! : ) – Mark


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