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Interview With Dave Tompkins About His New Book - How To Wreck A Nice Beach: The Vocoder From World War II to Hip-Hop, the Machine Speaks

Posted by Billyjam, April 13, 2010 04:50pm | Post a Comment

"Ever since the first bored kid threw his voice into an electric fan, toked on a birthday balloon, or thanked his mother in a pronounced burp voice mutation has provided an infinite source of kicks," writes author Dave Tompkins in his just published new book How To Wreck A Nice Beach: The Vocoder From World War II to Hip-Hop, the Machine Speaks (Melville House/Stop Smiling). The recommended hardcover Dave Tompkins How To Wreck A Nice Beachbook is an exhaustive in-depth study of the history of the vocoder (and other voice mutating and vocal altering technology) that the author, who has been obsessed with the sounds and effects emitted by vocoders ever since he first heard "Scorpio" by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five and "The Raven" by the Alan Parson's Project, spent a full decade researching and writing.

The result is a unprecedented historical study of the vocoder that should appeal equally to music fans, tech heads and also history students. Currently on the road promoting the book, Tompkins will be doing a lecture and slide show and playing music tonight in San Francisco at SOM Bar at 2925 16th Street along with hometown DJs B-Cause, Centipede, and Freddy Anzures. His set is at 10pm and on Thursday he will be at the HotWax party at 222 Hyde St. in San Francisco. Earlier today I caught up with the author to ask him about his book and the obsession that led him to write it.

Amoeblog: What inspired you to write this book?

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Tricked Out and Fully Treated: Rocktober is over but the Halloween high remains...

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, November 6, 2009 01:31am | Post a Comment
dennis miller dana carvey saturday night live snl weekend update late night tv

When I was in fifth grade staying up late enough to catch Dave Letterman's Top Ten was a personal goal of mine every weeknight (on Saturday nights it was staying up late enough to make it through Saturday Night Live in its entirety, but I always conked out right about the time Dennis Miller wrapped up his Weekend Update). I like to think that I became a lover of lists and listing things because of that after-hours fixation of mine, but who cares? The fact is that I do love a list and this year's Halloween happenings were so fabulously choice that I've got to work it out herein, Late Night Top Ten style:
graveyard gravestones san francisco state university education budget cut protest dios de los muertos
10: Students of San Francisco State University protesting budget cuts on Monday by turning the quad into a graveyard for courses felled by a lack of state education funds. The many headstones featured names of "dead" classes and mourners honored them dutifully in Dios de los Muertos style with candles, flowers and gorgeous little treats. A very clever and seasonally satisfying display of discontent!

9: Rammstein's timely release of their new album Liebe Ist Für Alle Da. Now, I count myself as an accidental Rammstein fan (and there's a good lengthy yarn I could spin about the who, what and why-fors about it), but a fan I am nonetheless ---especially as their machismo-soaked yet obviously Depeche Mode influenced electro-opera-industrial rock always seems to find a place on my annual Halloween mixtape! Not to mention that these German rockers consistently crank out quality music videos that remind us that there once was a time when the medium was viewed as an elevated art-form. Their video for the 1995 single Du Riechst So Gut is perhaps their most romantic (despite the fact that the imagery delves into bestiality, transvestitism and baroque dance routines) and very Halloween appropriate (despite the fact that nearly all their videos could be specified as "Halloween appropriate"). Oh Rammstein, why must thy art be so misunderstood? Maybe it's a European thing...

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