vox electronix

October 8th, 2010


I was playing some Boards of Canada recently & came across the song "In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country." I love the use of the vocoder in that tune. Being a sci-fi geek & an electronic music dork, it makes sense that I would like songs with vocoders. So I set out to find enough vocoder tunes for a mix. The result is "Vox Electronix".

The vocoder is is an analysis/synthesis system, developed in the 1930's, that dramatically reduces the amount of information needed to store speech, from a complete recording to a series of numbers. Because much info was lost in the encoding & decoding process, the voice ended up sounding "dehumanized" or robot-like. Eventually changes were made by people like Wendy Carlos & Robert Moog, that made the vocoder a musical device, used most prominently by artists like Kraftwerk.

The vocoder is used in many of the tracks in this mix, but I'm not exactly sure which ones are vocoder & which ones are auto-tune and which ones are just clever vocal manipulation. So don't everyone go crazy saying "hey that's not a flippin' vocoder!" I was just going for a certain sound, a certain feel.

It was cool discovering tunes I'd either never heard of or forgotten about. Thanks to Judd at the Hypnos forum for recommending the tune by Tonto's Expanding Head Band & for reminding me about the track from the U2/Eno collaboration, Passengers. Also thanks to False mirror on the Hypnos forum for the heads up on the Robert Rich song. That's one of those that I think is some form of auto-tune versus a vocoder. The mix opens with a cool bit of audio which was recorded at Bell Labs in 1936.

This was a fun mix to put together, discovering new tunes & revisiting old favorites(O Superman). I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00 Bell Labs 1936 - Voice of Power
  • 00:23 Tonto's Expanding Head Band - Riversong
  • 03:33 Brian Eno - And then so clear
  • 08:15 Boards of Canada - In a beautiful place out in the country
  • 12:30 Air - le soleil est pres de moi
  • 16:30 Apples in Stereo - Vocoder ba ba
  • 16:45 Bjork - Possible Maybe(Lucy mix)
  • 19:30 Passengers - A different kind of blue
  • 21:10 Robert Rich - Premonition of circular clouds
  • 28:25 Laurie Anderson - O Superman
  • 35:40 Ricardo Villalobos - Easy Lee
  • 39:45 Trans Am - Futureworld
  • 42:33 Air - Sexy Boy
  • 47:30 Peter Baumann - This This Day
  • 51:54 Apples in Stereo - Hello Lola
  • 52:10 Black Moth Super Rainbow - Twins of Myself
  • 55:15 Holger Czukay - Ode to Perfume
  • 59:15 Brian Eno - Bottomliners
  • 03:04 end
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