How to Wreck A Nice Beach: The Vocoder From World War II to Hip-Hop – Dave Tompkins
I only ever knew the Vocoder as an effect used in late 70s and early 80s electronic music. I wasn’t even aware that it was originally devised (by Bell Labs) during WW2 as a means of scrambling cross-Atlantic telephonic communications.
The title is “how to recognize speech” - as it would have been mis-interpreted on the receiving end.
The writing is wildly inventive, and I love how he goes off on all sort of tangents, deftly linking nascent electronic development, wartime espionage, military encryption, postwar paranoia, early electronic music and pioneering hip-hop into a wildly entertaining roller coaster ride.