CD Review: The Out Sound From Way In

One thing that interests me about electronic music is the dichotomy between its use for novelty songs, and its relegation to simple background sounds. Most modern rock, even the techno stuff common now doesn’t really use synthesizers for much more than looping or frequency sweeping. If you’re just starting out with an envelope synth, it would help to check out the works of early rock pioneers like Kraftwerk, Rick Wakeman, Jean-Michel Jarre and Wendy Carlos.

Now, another prime resource is The Out Sound from Way In, a 3-CD set released by Vanguard and containing a remastering of the original Perrey and Kingsley The In Sound from Way Out album. CD 2 consists of two of Perrey’s albums, while CD 3 contains covers by Fat Boy Slim and Eurotrash.

(Out Sound from Way In CD cover. All images from the Vanguard site, used for review purposes only.)

Gershon Kingsley was a self-taught musician that fled Germany before WW II to settle in the U.S., where he graduated from the LA Conservatory of Music (from the liner notes). In the 1950’s, he conducted pit orchestras for Broadway shows. Conversely, the French-born Jean-Jacques Perry was playing accordion from age four, and had planned to become a doctor until he met Georges Jenny, inventor of the Ondioline (an early version of the modern synth). Eventually, Gershon started working at Vanguard records as a staff arranger, while Perrey worked as a salesman for the Ondioline and was making appearances on TV, including the Jack Parr Show. The two of them shared an interest in avant-garde music and they teamed up to record the 1966 “The In Sound from Way Out!”

(Original The In Sound from Way Out CD cover.)

A lot of their early songs make very heavy use of real sound samples (i.e. – barnyard animals), tape loops and sound effects, in along with the Moog synth. With their take on “The Dance of the Hours” (Alan Sherman’s “Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda” song) the joke is the insertion of babies cooing. In later songs, especially “Third Man Theme” and “Flight of the Bumblebee”, Perrey starts focusing more on the synth side and making music rather than just doing gag songs. “The Unidentified Flying Objects” and “The Little Man from Mars” sound like something lifted directly from Spike Jones and His City Slickers and they fall firmly into the novelty category. But, even with the goofy “Swan’s Splashdown”, just about every synth effect that I’ve talked about here before – squarewave waveforms, the LFO, amplitude modulation, enveloping, resonance, filter sweeps, glide, plus panning and reverb – all show up on just the one song. If you ever wanted the perfect example of how to use the LFO for amplitude modulation, listen to their version of “Flight of the Bumblebee”. It’s an amazing cover. The challenge is to pick out which effect is being used at any given moment.

(Perrey & Kingsley CD cover.)

If you do decide to check out P&K’s work, get the 3-CD set. The “E.V.A.” cover by Fat Boy Slim, and “Flight of the Bumblebee” remix by Eurotrash are well worth the money entertainment-wise.

Bottom Line: Highly recommended to anyone interested in learning how to make electronic sounds.

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