Dave Tompkins-How to Wreck a Nice Beach Book (Paperback)
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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 Beachfrom a mis-hearing of the vocoder-rendered phrase how to recognize speechmusic journalist Dave Tompkins traces the history of electronic voices from Nazi research labs to Stalins gulags, from the 1939 Worlds 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 musics most provocative innovators.