Saturday, March 10, 2012

How To Wreck A Nice Beach

Stop Smiling Books [2012]

This is the 7" that was recently released as an accompaniment to Dave Tompkins's comprehensive, historic guidebook of the same name about the electronic speech processor, the vocoder. I could review the book in great detail, but instead I'll stick to the review of the now included record. After reading this, do yourself a favor and learn about the book: HOW TO WRECK A NICE BEACH. Side one of the record starts off strong with Tom Noble's tasteful edit of Geno Jordan's 1982 electro boogie cult jam "You're a Peachtree Freak on Peachtree Street". The song demonstrates an amazingly successful application of the vocoder as both vocals and an instrument simultaneously, without distraction. The flip side of the single includes two more tracks. The first track is an even more obscure 1983 electro boogie track off of AMP records: IZ Army's "Brainwash". This song takes a more minimalist approach to vocoder use than "…Peachtree Freak…" with a similar groove, more repetition and simplified lyrics. The final track exemplifies the most abstract use of the vocoder of all three songs included. "Biters in the City", by Fantasy Three gets showcased as "All You have is Yore Teeth" edit. This 1983 NYC electro gem includes the use of the vocoder as more of a noise instrument by amplifying and distorting sequenced breathing sounds. All of the songs on this record are a perfect fit for HTWANB (and NYC early 80's is pretty prime for this style), but now that Tompkins has me started up, I want to hear volumes more…

-Jeff Ogiba

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