Jean-Jacques Perrey & David Chazam - Eclektronics [Basta Music, 1998]

Frenchman Jean-Jacques Perrey is well-known to anyone interested in electronic music, and especially to those who are familiar with the many records from the late sixties and early seventies on which the Moog synthesizer plays a major role. While his colleagues mainly recorded cover versions (varying from Bach to Burt Bacharach), Perrey whether or not together with Gershon Kingsley brought out a number of LPs packed with catching tunes he composed himself. These tunes are all based on the strange squeaking, buzzing and growling Moog effects. At first hearing it all sounds deceptively simple. However, these tunes are always ingeniously put together, especially when you realize the primitive nature of the equipment used.

Between 1966 and 1970 Perrey brought out four albums on the Vanguard label. Two in association with Gershon Kingsley and two under his own name. Furthermore the duo composed several commercials for radio and TV and in the early seventies contributed to a number of LPs containing background music for use in films and TV programs.
Then, for the next two decades, Jean Jacques Perrey worked in complete obscurity until 1993, when a book entitled Incredibly Strange Music was published. This book has often been cited in these columns. Thanks to the interview with Perrey which was published in this book, he became well-known to a whole new generation of music lovers and musicians.

One of those musicians was the young French keyboard player and DJ David Chazam. Chazam became fascinated by Perrey’s music and decided to send his hero a tape with his own music. He asked Perrey if it was perhaps possible to work with him sometime or other. Perrey’s response was positive and soon the two of them started recording what would become the LP entitled Eclektronics – the new electro pop album. It was released in 1998 on Basenotic Records, but only on vinyl. The record was badly distributed and initially only a few fans knew of its existence.

Fortunately, thanks to the Dutch Basta label, Eclektronics recently became available on CD. The CD edition contains five bonus tracks, which Perrey and Chazam recorded after the original LP had been released.

The music on Eclektronics is a perfect mixture of Jean-Jacques Perrey’s humoristic late sixties style and more modern sounds. The strange noises and the melodic lines which sound simple at first hearing are still there. Yet the CD sounds fresh and modern, with funky beats and danceable rhythms. Perrey has by now reached the age of 70 or so, but thanks to his cooperation with David Chazam he sounds younger than ever. May we hear a lot more from him in the future!

Marco Kalnenek

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Jean-Jacques Perrey & David Chazam - Eclektronics