HOW TO WRECK A NICE BEACH

 27,95

This is the definite the history of the vocoder: how popular music hijacked the Pentagon’s speech scrambling weapon. The vocoder, invented by Bell Labs in 1928, once guarded phones from eavesdroppers during World War II; by the Vietnam War, it was repurposed as a voice-altering tool for musicians, and is now the ubiquitous voice of popular music. In How To Wreck A Nice Beach music journalist Dave Tompkins traces the history of electronic voices from Nazi research labs to Stalin’s gulags, from the 1939 World’s Fair to Hiroshima, from artificial larynges to Auto-Tune.

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The vocoder, invented by Bell Labs in 1928, once guarded phones from codebreakers during World War II; by the Vietnam War, it had been repurposed as a voice-altering tool for musicians and soon became the ubiquitous voice of popular music. In How To Wreck A Nice Beach (from a mis-hearing of the vocoder-rendered phrase “how to recognize speech”) music journalist Dave Tompkins traces the history of electronic voices from Nazi research labs to Stalin’s gulags, from the 1939 World’s Fair to Hiroshima, from artificial larynges to Auto-Tune.

We see the vocoder brush up against FDR, JFK, Stanley Kubrick, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Kraftwerk, the Cylons, Henry Kissinger, and Winston Churchill, who boomed, when vocoderized on the morning before V-E Day, “We must go off!” And now vocoder technology is a cell phone standard, allowing a digital replica of your voice to sound human. From T-Mobile to T-Pain, How To Wreck A Nice Beach is a riveting saga of technology and culture, illuminating the work of some of music’s most provocative innovators.

Additional information

language

English

pages

352 pages, soft cover

authors

Dave Tompkins

publisher

Stop Smiling Books

released

11-2011

isbn

9781612190921