How to Wreck a Nice Beach: The Vocoder from World War II to Hip-Hop, The Machine Speaks
How to Wreck a Nice Beach (Melville House Publishing)
by Dave Tompkins
$35.00 List Price
Technology can take unexpected turns on the path from an inventor's lab to the shelves of Best Buy. During World War II, presidents Roosevelt and Truman used a cutting-edge voice scrambler called the vocoder, dubbed SIGSALY by the US Signal Corps, to communicate furtively with the Allies about details for such operations as the Normandy invasion and the Hiroshima bombing. Two decades later, as President Kennedy used an encryption device for back-channel communications during the Cuban Missile Crisis, vocal scrambling began its second life in music as singers started distorting their voices. In Hamilton, Ohio, soul-funk musician Roger Troutman fabricated his own distortion device from freezer parts, while futuristic electronic-funk group the Jonzun Crew warned their fans, enigmatically, about the video game Pac-Man.
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