Jean-Jacques Perrey
Prélude Au Sommeil
Fantôme Phonographique
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1Prélude Au Sommeil Part 1
2Prélude Au Sommeil Part 2

Jean-Jacques Perrey was one of the earliest innovators in electronic music, creating a body of work spanning decades that has influenced everyone from Eno to The Beastie Boys. One of the pioneers of musique concrète and electronic tape manipulation, Prélude Au Sommeil (Prelude to Sleep) is Perrey's debut recording but shows a composer already at maturity. Originally released at the end of the fifties, as a private press under the fake institutional name "Institut Dormiphone", Prélude au Sommeil consisted of 2 side-long tracks played on the Ondioline (George Jenny’s 1941 vacuum-tube based, spring-loaded electronic instrument). The music contained in this mysterious vinyl is like something between dreamy church organ hymns and the keyboard-based minimalism that Philip Glass and Terry Riley developed a decade later.

The music of Prélude au Sommeil was intended as sleep-inducing and tranquilizing for use in mental hospitals. It is unclear if the copies pressed actually had been distributed to mental hospitals or if the whole story was just a fantastical joke on the part of Mr. Perrey. What we know with certainty is that this album has been a precursor of what later became known as "ambient music", 20 years before Brian Eno, the Kosmic Courier and the American minimalists. To hear something vaguely similar to Prélude au Sommeil we had to wait about five years, when in 1962, Epic Records produced the three volumes of Soothing Sounds For Baby of Raymond Scott.A droning/bubbling work of early electronic, Prélude Au Sommeil vacillates between playful and serious, light and dark, a truly beautiful piece from an icon of electronic music.