76 Years Old Musical Inventor Jean-Jacques Perrey Makes his Dutch Debut.
TodaysArt, formerly known as the “CultuurNacht”, is a yearly international and multidisciplinary festival in The Hague for contemporary creative art. The emphasis of the fourth edition of the TodaysArt Festival, to be held this year on the 22nd and the 23rd of September in the city centre of The Hague, will be on unique and international productions and presentations. In this light the debut of 76 years old Jean Jacques Perrey will be one of the unique highlights. Performing in a live show, called the Happy Electropop Music Machine at the Theater aan het Spui, Perrey will take each visitor back in time to the very essence and start of the electronic era.
Jean Jacques Perrey, “clown-prince of the avant-garde” and a pioneer of sampling is incorrigibly committed to his art: an inspired personality and a musical inventor in the very best sense. At a time when electronic music was sober and serious, the dose of humor and playful glee he brought to it was revolutionary. But more than that, Perrey has always been an unflinching apologist of a “gleeful science”. His work combines childish absurdity with well-founded experiments, uncomplicated popularism with the provocative curiosity of the avant-garde, eclecticism with sonic innovation, and unbounded enthusiasm with scientific methods.
Autodidact Perrey recognized early on that his passion was not for academic music, but for what he shaped as “Electro Pop.” For close to fifty years now he’s been conjuring up his “Music for Laughs and Smiles,” vivacious oddities created with the legendary Ondioline, tapes and the Moog synthesizer, and a radical modernity that can be vexing. His infectiously optimistic attitude, which unites the societal revolutions of the sixties, futuristic tech-fascination and joie de vivre, makes him a child of his time. A bold character not least because of his unwavering commitment to his vision, steadfastly pursued in the face of waning interest in his music and a dramatically changed social situation to this day. Perrey’s art rises from his faith in humor as an immunization against the ever-present threat of insensitivity that grows from worry, fear and paranoia. Driven all his life long by a gleeful “little music devil,” Perrey, now 76 years old, has recently made a new album with Dana Countryman which is to be released on Oglio Records this September. This evening pays homage to a major artist in the world of electronic music, whose sound and spirit continue to inspire many of his musical successors.
Jean Jacques Perrey & David Chazam
The name Jean-Jacques Perrey should be immediately familiar to electronic music fans, particularly those who are aware of the Moog synthesizer’s golden age of the ’60s and ’70s, when Moog records were plentiful in music shops. But unlike most of those LPs – which usually covered other artists’ tunes from the Beatles to Bacharach to Bach and beyond – Perrey’s albums were mostly filled with catchy, incredibly happy original tunes showcasing the man’s wacky musical sense of humor. From 1966 to 1970, Perrey released four LPs for Vanguard – two with arranger Gershon Kingsley, and two by himself as a solo artist. In addition to their records for Vanguard, during the early 60s Perrey and
Kingsley created commercials for radio and television. Around 1970, Perrey’s contract with Vanguard ended, and he returned to his native France.
He recorded six LPs of electronic background music for the French Montparnasse 2000 label; these discs are now very rare and immensely collectible. For the next 23 years, Perrey lived in virtual obscurity in France. It seemed that the musical world had forgotten the inventive Frenchman. But Perrey’s life out of the public eye changed in 1993 when RE/Search Publications produced its first Incredibly Strange Music book. A new generation of young musicians and modern music lovers were discovering Perrey’s amazing musical legacy. Many artists began sampling his records, and dance remix whiz Fatboy Slim even had an international hit with his souped-up dance remix of Perrey’s tune “E.V.A.”.
It was through the RE/Search book that a young French musician named David Chazam became fascinated with Perrey’s music. David Chazam sent a cassette of his own electronic music to Perrey, and proposed that they collaborate on an album. Perrey replied simply: “When, where and how?” Perrey and Chazam teamed up in the studio. J-J brought prepared tape loops (digitally loaded into his Kurzweil synthesizer/sampler), but no actual tunes. Instead, he had what he called “several cine-reels in my head” – little movies, imaginary pictures and conceptual ideas that Perrey wanted to orchestrate. He described the feel of the music needed, and Chazam came up with appropriate rhythm tracks.
(Text by Dana Countryman)
David Chazam lives in Bordeaux, France. Apart from appearing as a DJ, organizing music events and releasing solo work he is a member of the electro-pop formation Xtra Stylos and writes music pieces for theatre, dance and radio.
TodaysArt Festival 2006
TodaysArt, formerly known as the “CultuurNacht”, is a yearly international and multidisciplinary festival in The Hague for contemporary creative art. Expect unique performances and acts by the most creative artists from all over the world. TodaysArt Festival 2006 is an adventurous city-trip for all the senses! Line-up includes The Orb, Underground Resistance, United Visual Artists and many others!
Date: 21 (preview), 22 & 23 September 2006
Location: city centre of The Hague (around Spuiplein and Grote Markt)
Tickets: presale 17 to 26 euros
Presale: www.uitburo.nl and www.beatfreax.com