Monday, March 4, 2013
Jean-Jacques Perrey - The Amazing New Electronic Pop Sound of Jean Jacques Perrey (1968)
Electronic music in the late 1960s generally seems to fall into two categories: reinterpretation of classical pieces or space-age pop material. The former could be represented by Switched-On Bach (1968), while this album is a great example of the latter. Jean-Jacques Perrey was known mostly for his tenure as a ondioline (an early electronic keyboard instrument capable of vibrato) salesman and his collaborations with Gershon Kingsley (famous for "Popcorn") before the release of his own material in the late 60s. Many may be most familiar with the sound of his music from the Main Street Electric Parade at Walt Disney World, which is actually a cover of he and Gershon Kingsley's tune "Baroque Hoedown. What's amazing is that this album is entirely Perrey's playing with the help of a sound engineer (who I believe added in the drum tracks). Perrey uses the ondioline and the newly-invented Moog synthesizer to create the wide range of colors and textures that make up his electronic music palette. Perrey shows a willingness to absorb a variety of styles from the operatic "Mary France" to the latin sounds of "The Mexican Cactus" and "Brazilian Flower." Despite having no formal training, Perrey's technique is quite impeccable as the fast runs in "Brazilian Flower" or on other tracks would attest too. While I would typically review each track, this is simply an album you have to listen to the whole way through as it's more like a book than separate tracks (an exploration of the capabilities of electronic instruments of the time, if you will). Perrey's music has gained some notoriety in the current world for the tracks on this album being used for original videos on YouTube. The nyan-cat-alternative "Rainbow Bunchie"(4 million views) uses "Brazilian Flower" and its primary theme and the strange "Going to the Store" (12 million views) uses "The Little Ships" as a CGI mannequin flails around for no particular reason. I know this album won't appeal to every listener, but I like that my blog has a variety and doesn't necessarily concentrate on one specific genre. Still, if you enjoy electronic music or are curious of what the possibilities of layered synthesizers and other electronic keyboard instruments may sound like, then it's worth a listen.