More vocoder please. Domo arigato.

For anyone out there who might like a little vocoder in their life (or if you are my brother and you like a lot of vocoder). I have a book and a podcast you will find essential.

The podcast is To the Best of Our Knowledge Episode, “The Voice”. This is free and delves into the history of the vocoder with the author of the book,How to Wreck a Nice Beach: The Vocoder from World War II to Hip-Hop, The Machine Speaks The podcast gives a nice overview of the book with insights from the author and  some fantastic early vocoder sound clips. The sound bites are incredibly spooky military code samples and some audio from the vocoder that was a big attraction at the Chicago World’s Fair.

Listen in iTunes

Listen in CastRoller

PRI To the Best of Our knowledge

About the book [from Amazon]

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—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 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.


Need more vocoder? Check out these lists

And because I will find any reason to work in a Pulp song, the vocoder mix of “Common People” is a must.


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