Monday Evening in Williamsburg: Words by the Water presents Vocodors and Bass with Dave Tompkins ("How to Wreck a Nice Beach")
It was one of the most beautiful evenings of the summer, mild and clear and dry, and we had the pleasure of being at Words by the Water, presented by the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn and Greenpoint's wonderful WORD Bookstore, a series of readings with local authors and publishers in Williamsburg's East River State Park.
Tonight was Melville House Night, featuring Dave Tompkins, author of How to Wreck a Nice Beach: The Vocoder from World War II to Hip-Hop; The Machine Speaks.
"Magic Hour: Vocoders and Bass" was a fascinating listening party hosted by a talented writer -- "the best hip-hop writer ever born," Jeff Chang (whose work is also pretty amazing) called him -- and a marvelous raconteur.
Riffing on each recording -- reminding us a lot of our days in South Florida in the 1980s, a lot of it was the Miami-style up-tempo robotic electro and mid-tempo drum machine-based rap music -- Dave Tompkins told these delightful stories about names we haven't heard in decades, all with tangential asides that conveyed the author's enthusiasms and obsessions in an effective and infectious way.