Vocoders on The Sound Of Plaid / Soundasaurus Festival
Subject: Vocoders on The Sound Of Plaid / Soundasaurus Festival
Send date: 2010-11-09 14:43:29
Issue #: 51

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How To Wreck A Nice Beach book coverRobot Invasion: VOCODERS on The Sound Of Plaid

Hide, evolver!  It's a ROBOT INVASION!

Well, at least it sounds an awful lot like a robot -- it's the vocoder, and its our topic for this week's episode of The Sound Of Plaid.  For those that slept through the breakdancing craze in the 80's or Clockwork Orange in the 70's, the vocoder is that studio gadget that takes a human voice like yours and transforms it into a transformer ("more than meets the eye...").  But the vocoder's history is more than beats -- it was a top-secret military project that heads of state used to speak securely throughout World War II.

This bizarre and unlikely army-to-electro history isdetailed in the book How To Wreck A Nice Beach by Dave Tompkins.  It's a great read, loaded with great tales of how this music studio magic trick started its career by saving (or maybe destroying) the world, serving as a private telephone line between presidents and prime ministers.  It's also loaded with a great playlist of vocoder-laced music, be it the Clockwork Orange soundtrack, Kraftwerk, the majority of electro, Daft Punk, and beyond.

Join TradeMark and Frilly for the secret history of the vocoder on this week's episode of The Sound Of Plaid, live from the Centrum Sztuki Wsp√≥lczesnej (aka the Center for Contemporary Art) in Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, Poland.  Many chances to hear the show, and if you can't make the times below, you can hear it at The Sound Of Plaid Archives later in the week.


LIVE Thursdays on DFM RTV INT (DFM Radio International):

8p-10p PST
11p-1a EST
0400-0600 CET

  ...and DFM's Tuesday repeat: 9a-11a PST
noon-3p EST
1700-1900 CET
  Sundays on KAOS Radio Austin:
11a-1p PST
  1p-3p CST
1900-2100 GMT
  Thursdays on Shouting Fire:

6p-8p PST
9p-11p EST
0200-0400 GMT


Soundasaurus Festival in Calgary, Alberta

Just a week after we return from our Warsaw residency in January we'll head north to Calgary, Alberta (Canada) for the Soundasaurus FestivalBest of all, it will be our rare Nosferatu soundtrack show (aka Reels Of Steel) which we've done just once in the last six years.

Soundasaurus - Evolution Control Committee

January 20, 2011

EPCOR CENTRE's Soundasaurus Festival presents

Evolution Control Committee: Reels of Steel and guests
Thursday, January 20, 2011 at EPCOR CENTRE's Engineered Air Theatre
Doors open 6:30pm | Show starts 7:30pm

Evolution Control Committee
What happens when you make a movie soundtrack using only soundtrack albums of other movies? The Evolution Control Committee composes a score to the silent horror classic Nosferatu resulting in a fun collage of familiar tunes, DJ’d live. In Reels of Steel a tightly-composed soundtrack is spontaneously created using only vinyl records, pushing the limitations of copyright. Followed by a Q&A with the artists.


Ivan Reese
Mary Everest Boole is a narrative performance of stochastic musical cybernetics featuring a unique software program which allows a computer to listen to its environment for sounds and resynthesizes them into musical phrases.

Festival installations by:

Luba Diduch
I saw you drown...in the Sargasso Sea, is an installation piece employing a microphone and sound booth where environmental sounds and vibrations are recorded and remixed with underwater recordings.

Dr. Thomas Lawrence
Three Songs of a Green Eucharist is a soundscape based on spiritual music compositions recorded over three years.


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