Archive - July 2010

How To Wreck A Nice Beach: The Vocoder from World War II to Hip-Hop

How To Wreck A Nice Beach: The Vocoder from World War II to Hip-Hop
by Dave Tompkins (Stop Smiling Books; $35)

World War II increased the rate of human innovation to a pace unseen in any other period of history. New technology from the era includes everything from synthetic rubber to the atomic bomb to magnetic audio tape, which the Germans successfully kept secret until the war’s end. After the Reich fell, Lt. Jack Mullin of the US Army Signal Corps shot footage outside of Hitler’s home, grabbed one of the Fuhrer’s piano strings for a souvenir, and brought two AEG Magnetophons (along with fifty reels of Farben recording tape) back with him to the states. He then sold a reel-to-reel tape recorder to Bing Crosby, revolutionizing broadcasting and music-making in the process. Another device that made its debut in World War II only to be later adopted by the entertainment industry is the Vocoder.

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Presenting the Bad Ideas Department mixtape for July, 2010:

  • Rolling Stones: Sing This All Together
  • Big Hurry: Save Your Breath (Left of the Dial mix)
  • A Guy Called Gerald: Voodoo Ray
  • The Juan MacLean: Give Me Every Little Thing
  • Giorgio Moroder: Utopia – Me Giorgio
  • Big Hurry: Tell Me (Electric Vocoder mix)
  • Tiga: (Far From) Home
  • The Fantastics: Ego Tripping
  • Sweet: Fox On The Run
  • Big Hurry: Paper Trails (South Side Sound Machine mix)
  • King Tubby: King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown
  • Lou Reed: Wagon Wheel
  • Le Tigre: Hot Topic
  • Bow Wow Wow: Mile High Club
  • Transvolta: Disco Computer
  • Big Hurry: Radio (Scott Simons mix)
  • Happy Mondays: W.F.L. (Wrote For Luck)
  • Tippa Irie: All The Time The Lyric A Rhyme
  • Ultramagnetic MCs: Traveling At The Speed Of Thought
  • Joshua Ryan: The Interview Is Over
  • Big Hurry: Silver Screens (Clash mix)
  • The Beach Boys: Do It Again