We're quite fond of Dave Tompkins' history of the vocoder, How to Wreck a Nice Beach—he wrote it with a winky passion, injecting joie de vivre into a topic that in the wrong hands would have been a major bore. But what's a book about a voicebox without some audio to accompany it? So Tompkins enlisted his friend Monk One to help him cobble together Bonus Beach, an in-depth compilation showing where the vocoder's been and where it could possibly go next, with an accompanying tracklist that's almost as fun to read as the book. (Excerpt, regarding Jonzun Crew's "Pak Man": "A song about one man’s desire to exterminate all Pac Man machines with the help of a device invented to rewire the chromatic spectrum of the universe using 17 million colors, the Suboptic Shadow World, and Sun Ra.") Memorial Weekend seems like a good time to submerge yourself in the vocoder's rickety robot future (or maybe it's just all the talk about the beach). Go here for our funny FADER TV segment with Tompkins, and head over to his website to download the mix and check out the must-read liner notes.
May 28, 2010