A Musical Prime Number

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Kingsley had a weak spot for such funny noises. The mystical powers of sounds he learned from Jean Jacques Perrey (1929), a musical nerd from Paris, who still is active and still operates on the good side of lunacy.

Perrey collected sounds with a microphone and a taperecorder. Sad noises, like that of a foghorn; happy noises, like that of small copper bells and gruesome noises like nais on a chalkboard. Perrey had developed his own form of art and made chemistry with such sounds by cutting them and sequence them in a certain way: Boohplokiiieeprljoop. The result was a tickling noise, which made people laugh, especially children. It is that kind of funny noise that is rarely used in music. Almost all music is made with a certain amount of ernestness, how happy the song may be. Funny noises make a song a gimmick or a novelty. The kind of music which you won't get you far if you want to be taken seriously. Cartoonmusic.

That didn't stop Perrey, though. Once he made a version of the song 'Busy Bee', a nervous song in which xylophone players like to show their virtuousness. However, Perrey didn't play the song with a xylophone, but cut and pasted the song from a tape with bee sounds. At a beekeper Perrey recorded a few hundreds of meters of bees: excited bees, slow bees, angry bees. He ordered the buzzing of the bees on timbre and height of tone, after which he cut the tape with a razorblade in small pieces of 1.05 cm. Each piece was the equal of an eight note. He pasted the pieces in such an order that it resulted in the melody 'Busy Bee'.

In 1964 Perrey and Kingsley met. PErrey played Kingsley a Peep-Plop-Katjengpriljoep-soundtape and the only thing Kingsley could do was laugh. Kinglsey played some ploop-pioerrljoep thingies on the Moog synthesiser. This resulted in some kind of alien communication and the two men couldn't wait to mix their sounds, to make music like it was never made before.

Perrey and Kingsley founded a true music lab, with Kingsley's big Moog synthesizer and Perrey's soundtapes. Perrey and Kingsley produced a dozen of tapes with Moog sounds and the craziest sono-synthetic sounds, like Perrey called them. Every tape was a week of hard work: cutting, pasting and copying everything on a new tape, and that repeated for ten times.

Next, they let session musicans play guitarlines and percussion over this electronic music. The result was two unique records The In Sound From Way Out! and Kaleidoscopic Vibrations: records full with electronic soapbubbles and robotic bubblegum music.

Critics and record dealers didn't know what to do with the records and the copies were sold for a dollar and were catagorized under: Instrumental Misc. But marketing people looted the two records like hungry lions. Almost every song of the two records is used for a television commercial. The song 'Baroque Hoedown' is still used in the Electrical Parade in Disneyworld.

They were also discovered by hip hop produces who sampled sounds of the records with much enthousiasm. In 1996, the Beasty Boys released a record with the same name: The In Sound From Way Out!, as an hommage. The fact that Perrey and Kingsley were being sampled, shows the strange forces which are at large in the musical industry. What Perrey did was nothing much than literally sampling. His way of working has been caught up with the time. A song which Perrey and Kingsley worked on for a week can be made in fifteen minutes with current technology. However, Perrey and Kingsley's cut and paste work still sound fresh and very special. There's something magical attached with handwork. There seems to be something which leads no-one can write with a computer as Gerard Reve [NB: a Dutch writer] can with his ink pen. Real knobs give a different dynamic sound than virtual knobs. A perfect scissor-cut pictures is a different perfect than a perfect cut picture on a computerscreen. You can laugh at the man who makes windmills by glueing matches. You can also give a good look at the windmill and see that the will has been made with human hands. A 'Perrey & Kingsley' sound you can recignise immediately.