Listen: A Lifetime-in-the-Making Vocoder Mix

> hsu_vocoder.jpg

Melville House Publishing

Deviating from Thursday protocol to bring you a new, lifetime-in-the-making vocoder mix by Monk One (mix) and Dave Tompkins (ideas). "Bonus Beach" is the audio companion to Dave's brilliant, million-dots-connecting history of the vocoder, How to Wreck a Nice Beach. Dave's annotated tracklisting will give a taste of the wild prose and deep histories that comprise the book. Like this Doug E. Fresh-related dream:

(55:00) Nothing—Doug E. Fresh (1986)
I once dreamt that a fireplace chanted the "Nothing" vocoder to me in a cabin with antler chandeliers in Brevard, NC (where, when awake at age 8, I played my first game of Telephone.) The fireplace was a dragon's mouth. Such nostrils! Every time the dragon said nothing, there was a belch of blue smoke. I included the dream in a letter I wrote to a Bavarian mental institution that played vocoder recordings of talking water drops for patients while they slept. Never mailed it.

Or this explanation of Cybotron's electro classic "Clear" by one of its creators:

(17:46) Clear--Cybotron (from Jeff Mills, "The Wizard," WJLB, Detroit, 1986)
"When you go to those places where those people were stars and where black music was rooted in those clubs, there's nothing there. It's an empty lot. When I go to see where the Temptations played, where Marvin Gaye and the Four Tops were playing, and where the music was seeded, there's nothing there. Desolation. That's clear."
—Rik Davis on Detroit

Just listen. Though, not to pull Dave's card or anything, but all of the tracks therein do not contain vocoder.

Presented by

Hua Hsu teaches in the English Department at Vassar College and writes about music, sports, and culture. More

Hua Hsu teaches in the English Department at Vassar College and writes about music, sports, and culture. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Bookforum, Slate, The Village Voice, The Boston Globe Ideas section and The Wire (for whom he writes a bi-monthly column). He is on the editorial board for the New Literary History of America.

Why Is Google Making Human Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors at a world-class life sciences lab are trying to change the way people think about their health.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Videos

Why Is Google Making Human Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Entertainment

Just In