Published Dec 07, 2009While 2009 saw AutoTune reach an all time high in pop culture, then almost die, the voice modulation effect better known as the vocoder has actually had a storied past that goes all the way back to 1928. That history is explored in an upcoming book from music journalist Dave Tompkins.
The book is called How to Wreck a Nice Beach, and is named after a misunderstood vocoder translation of the phrase "how to recognize speech." In a press release from publisher Melville House, the book "traces the history of electronic voices from Nazi research labs to Stalin's gulags, from the 1939 World's Fair to Hiroshima, from Manhattan nightclubs to the Muppets."
As if that's not intriguing enough, the release continues: "We see the vocoder brush up against FDR, Solzhenitsyn, Stanley Kubrick, Stevie Wonder, JFK, Eisenhower, Neil Young, Kanye West, the Cylons, Walt Disney, Henry Kissinger, and Winston Churchill, who boomed, when vocoderized on V-E Day, 'We must go off!'"
How to Wreck a Nice Beach will be released in March of 2010. More information can be found here.