Monday, November 1, 2010

How To Wreck A Nice Beach

How To Wreck A Nice Beach : The Vocoder From World War II To Hip-Hop : The Machine Speaks by Dave Tompkins

The vocoder is one of the strangest devices in the music world. One only has to listen to the recent trend of "Auto-Tune" (an offspring of the vocoder) to begin the mystification process! Dave Tompkins leads us through the invention of this vocal transmission synthesizer and its initial uses. We learn that Winston Churchill and later John F. Kennedy spoke into early modules before the vocoder was even considered to be used as a musical instrument. Tompkins gives us plenty of military, political, scientific and Cold War history side by side with the then nascent hip-hop and electro movements with tales of the Jonzun Crew, Roger Troutman and Kraftwerk to name a few. What a read!

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