How to Wreck a Nice Beach

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Something To That Effect

Get That Chestnut From The Grave

By Dave Tompkins at 11:57am ET

(Fairy of the Black Rocks, 1902)

Nothing beats getting flashed by a skeleton in a snowy graveyard in 1902. In fact, I wanted to call this mix “Getting Flashed by a Skeleton in a Snowy Graveyard.” But then I listened to the Young D Boyz and heard chestnuts. Young D Boyz of course heard no such thing.

Listen and download here: Get That Chestnut From the Grave

If feeling chilly, go inside this UFO Jell-O Mold Party:

The ever patient Monk-One (NYC Trust) did all the work as usual, in between watching Fiend Without a Face and Ikarie XB-1. (If anyone can speak Czech, I’d be grateful for some subtitles). I brought in heaps of music with a loose idea of the sequencing and sat there and drank beer and tried to not knock over his son’s Brooklyn Bridge.

I’d say this was a vocoder mix were it not for the tobacco auctioneer, the heartbroken loner from Taylorsville, NC, the androgynous Prince clone, Juvenile’s bald–headed alien, the guy who claims he’s an iceberg, the UPS song, the Whispers, and a girl from New Orleans named Na’Tee saying, “Fuck Auto-Tune! Fuck a v-coder!” Twice, even. Damn, Na’Tee!

Anyway, there are lots of customized edits, winter bones, freak frozers, and shut-in joints on here, as well as some real snowman melters. No snowman acid rain water was drunken (dranken?) during the recording of this mix.

Many of the tracks were recommended by others, over the past couple of years after book was first published. Thank you Monk One, Dante Carfagna, Nate Smith, Spacey Sissick, Josh Dunn, Jeremy Campbell, Big Fun in the Fun Town, Noz, Marty Key, Tom Noble, Andrew Morgan, Lily Kane, Terry Kane, Bepe Loda, the man known as 12ManRambo, Jon Yu, Hua Hsu.

(0:00) Young D Boyz “MAC gOD”

As mentioned up there, this has all been a terrible misunderstanding. But the skeletons won’t listen to reason.

(0:56) Harm Drost, Speech After Removal of the Larynx (Smithsonian/Folkways)

Recorded at the Phonetic Laboratory of the Ear, University of Leiden.

(1:18) Zeus B Held “Europium”

Intermission in Zeus B. Held’s brain.

Apparently, Zeus B. Held stole my mom’s florescent kitchen halo and wore it on his head, like an angel, an angel in silver pants with his dick hanging out.

(1:44) Dorothy Collins “Mountain High Valley Low”

This song makes me of running in the mountains in November, through a pasture to the top of a hill where I touch the wizard’s nose carved into a post in an abandoned shack. Then my knees remind me of how much it sucks coming back down the mountain, and how, one day, when we’re old, and I’ve written 50 vocoder books, I’ll be forced to walk down. Then I remember the time I passed three black bear cubs, climbing up a tree, like three fuzzy Bell South repairmen, and how, as cute as those guys were, I was glad my knees got me the hell out of there.

(Everyone’s happy when the wizard walks by)

No vocoder here, but pretty advanced production for the early 1950s. Dorothy Collins backed by a gang of Dorothy Collinses. Be all you can be.

(2:46) Geraldine Stewart & the Gospel Song Writers “You Ought To Been There” /”Walking With The King”

A few years ago Marty Key (who runs the excellent Steady Sounds in Richmond, VA) let me borrow this psychedelic disco gospel vocoder 45. On the label you’ll find a drawing of winged serpents cast from hell and/or a Larry Cohen movie. I’d lost it, and It, at a party. After a year of feeling like a crudwump about the whole thing, a friend’s 2-year old found it among his 45s.

Thank you for saving my old behind, little one.

Geraldine talks about loving everyone and pissing off the devil because she’s walking with the king.

(5:14) Conrad Schnitzler “Berlin Express (The 4:08 To Paris)”

RIP Mr. Schnitzler. I haven’t taken the 4:08 to Paris. However I have taken the 8:08 to the dome, and the hungover 8:05 to Hamburg where I ended up in a record store playing Pyramid Plus, as well as German vocoder clips for an audience who helped translate a homily about keeping peace despite evil neighbors.

(8:09) Mirage “Mirage In the Space”

See image of UFO jell-o mold above, with indoor magic hour lighting? That is what this record is.

(8:50) Bernice Frazier “Will You Be the One”

After submitting the third book draft (almost done!), I went to the beach with my niece (Berenice), and my dad and stepmom. I read Herzog’s Conquest of the Useless, which is recommended for anyone finishing an interminable project. I sat on the porch in a rocking chair and tried to determine whether Mr. Herzog was serious when he talked about tonsillectomies being performed with a vacuum cleaner in the Amazon. Meanwhile my niece read Watership Down and laughed at British rabbit names.

Also recommended for anyone trying to finish an interminable project: waking in the middle of the night and screaming, “The fields are covered with blood!

(11:45) Sneak E “Fluff-U”

The A-side is “Land of Stuphph,” but it’s not until the flip,“Fluff-U,” that we are actually taken to the Land of Stuphph. At approximately 13:24, you will be mugged by the Stuphph.

There should be a weed dispensary called “The Puff & Stuphph.” And a dog wash/ fabric softener named “Fluff-U.” Not to be confused with the secret German cloud force called the Fluftwaffe.

The song is from Ohio, though the label is Straight From The Coast Records & Tapes. This makes me think there’s some secret beach portal in Ohio, on some Mt. Analogue.

(13:51) The Whispers “Keep On Loving Me”/ 12 seconds of Kraftwerk “Trans Europe Express”

“Keep On Loving Me” is the first song I ever taped off the radio. There are about 20 different possibilities for edits, as indicated by DJ Steef here.

We just grabbed the first swell until that German train showed up.

Steef also did the excellent Triolisme and Planet Caravan edits.

(15:42) Floating Points/Reel To Real “Love Me Like This”

No stranger to countless other mixes but “Keep On Loving Me” called for it.

(16:35) Trus’ Me feat. Dam Funk “Bail Me Out”

Inspired by Was (not Was) “Wheel Me Out.”

Last time I saw Dam Funk, he was shredding a Keytar at a top floor swimming pool at Soho House in Miami. There was nobody there and Dam was facing a beach masked by darkness. But we could hear the unvoiced hiss energy of the tide. I know you’re out there, ocean!

(17:32) Iz Army “Brainwash (Army of Shadows edit)”

According to Discogs, the Iz Army logo was designed by Philco, a vocoder contractor for the Air Force. Oh, really!

I once had a dream about Army of Shadows that involved Kraftwerk running a water ballet school/lab in occupied France.

If only Simone Signoret opened that suitcase and found a Philco vocoder stashed among her garments. Her luggage/that scene contained a stolen line about frequencies (“The wavelengths have changed”) that happened to wash up on Miami Beach in 1983. Or p. 96, admittedly.

(20:01) Next Movement “More Love” (Instrumental)

I visit Chicago for all my winter facelifts. I’ll be there in February for a talk at Northwestern where the vocoder book is being used for a media studies class.

This is the instrumental but I love the way he says, “I’ve got complicated things on my mind… too much static enigmatic.”

(21:51) Esophageal Voice (at two different octaves)
Speech After Removal of the Larynx (Smithsonian/Folkways)

“Air is driven into the esophagus by means of mouth and tongue. This air does not reach the stomach, but reverses direction and produces a vibration of the mucous membrane in the upper part of the esophagus as it again rushes forward. You will now hear the so-called injection of air.”

(22:27) Planet Funkatron

Before leaving for Dusseldorf, the incredibly monikered DJ Spacey Sissick, contacted me and said he’d found a 10-inch acetate in Long Island, bearing no identification marks other than “Planet Funkatron.” It turned out to be 9 minutes of freaking “Planet Rock” backwards, an effect that can be simply achieved in Garage Band, if you want to be a dick about it. But we don’t want to be dicks about it. This is an actual event from a real record!

What’s up to Badlands and Three Women: “For a while they lived in a tree house.”

(23:41) Nakion “Deus Ex Machina”

Which is Latin for “Do The Sex Machine.” Which is why I sucked at Latin, despite taking four years in high school. Anyway, this song is new. A new South Korean Latin vocoder classic.

(24:48) Shoc Corridor “Ice Berg”

Accusing your girlfriend of global warming is just downright unseemly. Maybe she’s just a really fly meteorologist. Maybe he found a glacier’s phone number in her wallet and got jealous. He’s a snowstorm. He’s an iceberg. He’s on some winter wonder twin shit. Shape of: A 1960s insane asylum where people get diagnosed with “erotic dementia.” Form of: a real bummer. To be taken under winter advisory.

(27:24) Spencer Tune “Nightmare (Maggots Over Antwerp)”

Still winter, maybe scarier. And British. Spencer Tune is British. It really does say “Maggots Over Antwerp” on the record. Apologies for cutting it off before the really dope 303 acid-y part, but we’ve got places to go. At the wrong speed it sounds like a good Geto Boys track.

(28:16) JAZAQ “All Systems Go”

According to Monk, Jazaq is really Jazai. But when he signed the contract for Enjoy Records, Bobby Robinson mistook the Q for an I, so Jazai became Jazaq. Jazaq’s the facts jack! An I for a Q and a tribute to Mantronix and the retired Serbian B-Boy I met in Dusseldorf (named Jantronix)

(30:36) U-Gents “Chain Gang”

I taped this off the radio in my dorm at college. Reminds me of something Kodwo Eshun once said about an Oasis show. “It was horrible! It was amazing!” Amazingly horrible. But I honestly think this is amazing.

(31:24) Matrix “It’s Time To Rock”

The “Def Beats” version of this Cali electro thing sounds really nice with a layer of “Uranium” on top.

(32:43) This Track Is Called If You Have A Copy Of This Song To Trade Please Contact Me At Your Earliest Convenience

This is from a Josh Dunn mix, which ultimately means it’s from Detroit. I grew up a Lions fan. My brother and his friend Vinnie Vickers pummeled me in a pile of damp leavcs, chanting “Thirty-Seven-Nothing”, after the Cowboys beat the Lions 37-0 in the 1970s. I think the Lions should be proud of how they played this past Saturday against the Saints, despite giving up 45 points.

(36:11) Fat Jon “B-Girl (Instr)”/ “Tobacco Auctioneering”
Vocal Styles and Resources In Folk Music (New World Records, 1978)

Instrumental from a Five Deez album, engineered for spring, when the tobacco auctioneer shows up in a woodchuck suit. No pocuscadabra (“You wouldn’t hit a bat in glasses”) was attempted to make the woodchuck suit fit. He naturally landed in here.

(39:36) Emerson “Sending All My Love” (edit)

Dear UPS,

Raise your brand profile and license this song now.

The “what’s wrong” and “family” stabs always make me sad.

Does he say, “Airmail stamps won’t do?”

The hook was once misheard by Daptone’s label manager as “sitting on a birdhouse.” There was an abandoned Boo Radley birdhouse in my neighborhood, with three stories and spinstered with cobwebs in the beak portals and gumballs in its den. It was in El-P’s backyard.

1988, from Morrow, Georgia.

(43:15) Lovebug Starski “Say What You Wanna Say” (Big Fun In The Big Town Edit)

Hope tinged with melancholy. Also known as: how the morning sun hits Manhattan in the winter. A little post-punk (see shimmer). Could be Freestyle even. There’s also a weird Michael Karoli-ish guitar that comes in later, but we’d since moved on. As the lore has it, Lovebug Starski is believed to be one of the first to yell the words hip-hop at a party. I once saw him fishbowl on a panel, when talking about what happened to the old school. It was incredibly moving. Starski is also behind one of the dopest moments on Paul’s Boutique.

(45:26) Whodini/Conny Plank “Nasty Lady Dub” (Monk’s dub of a dub)

The following was licensed with permission from the bottom of p. 206 of the best-selling book, How to Wreck a Nice Beach: The Nasty Lady from Nasty Lady to Nasty Lady.

“Nasty Lady” was a stone-boot crunch. Its drum machine suggested Lurch repeatedly head-butting a low-flying doorframe, his brain apparently in no hurry to push the duck button. When Whodini asks, “How many of y’all know Nasty Ladies?”, it’s the nasty ladies who answer, screeching on behalf of their men, assuring they’d known no better. Impressive, even startling, is how this screech carries itself across the room with all that back-raking decay. But, as Samuel R. Delaney once wrote: “There are times when all the helling and the yelling won’t fill the lack.” So the late Conny Plank treats us/it to a 9-minute dub version.

(48:17) Bassonlians “Bass Command”

Miami! Maggotron! The first to use Bass as a verb. Gerunderpants!

(49:08) King Eric & The Groove “The Groove”

Expensive! Can’t afford! From Cali! Getting lazy!

(49:41) Camille Bloch Chocolate Ad Made By Siemens

Trans Swiss Chocolate Express.

(49:56) Computer Jay “Maintain (FaltyDL edit)”

One of my favorite remixes from last year.

(50:53) Na’Tee “Back 2Da Block”

Excellent use of the human voice to express antipathy towards Auto-Tune and “the V-Coder.”

Now see here, young lady!

(51:04) Juvenile “400 Degreez”

I think Manny Fresh is using a cello for the carrier wave?

Give me your best three bald-headed aliens. Off top (harf!), I’m thinking It Came From Outer Space; This Island Earth (nope—those are brains, I think); Blue Sunshine (no—hair loss caused by LSD); Ultimate Warrior (come on, that’s just Yul Brynner); THX-1138 (clearly I need some help here); Close Encounters of the Third Kind (now we’re getting somewhere—my brother’s Xmas tree looked like a spaceship from Close Encounters.) (Bonus back-slaps if you can find the Close Encounters reference in the “Pack Jam” chapter. Hint: It’s not a spaceship but it definitely involves Richard Dreyfuss.)

(52:40) Outkast “Synthesizers”

In which you have Outkast, George Clinton, and a vocoder on the same track. But this is the instrumental, so it’s the thought that counts. And it’s a nice thought. (Incidentally, one of the worst terms ever is “thought-piece.”)

Nice of LaFace to do instrumentals of the entire Aquemini album though they left off “Da Art of Storytellin’ (Part 2).”

(53:36) Parabuccal Speech
Speech After Removal of the Larynx (Smithsonian, Folkways)

“We are not able to say exactly how far this singer is using his normal voice.”

—Harm Drost, Phonetic Laboratory of the Ear, University of Leiden, Netherlands.

“The air required to form the basic tone is collected in the space between the cheek and upper jaw; the cheek serves as an air reservoir. The basic sound is formed between the cheek and teeth.” (Not the cheek & gum where Walt Garrison stores his Skoal.)

(54:11) Virgil Charles Mashburn “Why Should It Be”

This loner thing with nice guitar is from Taylorsville, NC, near Morganton and Hickory. We always passed through Morganton during family trips to the mountains in Linville. The witch in the window at Spake’s Antiques was a reliable scare during that drive, as was the Broughton Mental Institution, where my dad once photographed my brothers and myself. That photo will be found when I disappear.

(57:59) Keith Sweat “How Deep Is Your Love (Instrumental Dub)”

A classic Teddy Riley vocoder ballad. Keith Sweat had great sweaters.

(59:32) Young D Boyz “MAC gOD”

And back to you, Mr. Chestnuts Grave.

(1:01:18) Zeus B Held “Europium”

Sort of like when you when you nap at the beach (or think you’re napping because your eyes are closed) and catch all these fragments of conversation at different distances mixed with the froth and tide.


  1. […] For a detailed track list, go HERE. […]

  2. This is amazing – thank you!

    Comment by Holly — January 10, 2012 @ 2:27pm
  3. thank you, really, really nice mix! all the best from berlin!

    Comment by mrfrosty — January 20, 2012 @ 7:42am
  4. Great mix, Dave. If you are so much into Schnitzler, why don’t you come over and visit the reconstruction of his lab?

    Comment by Nadja — January 24, 2012 @ 7:31am
  5. Great mix Dave, thank you!

    Comment by Dave_Vinyl — April 2, 2012 @ 6:58pm
  6. B.R.I.L.L.I.A.N.T !!!

    Comment by Miquel — April 3, 2012 @ 12:55pm
  7. This is an excellent mix. Diggin’ on all the links and the tobacco auctioneer. Great way to get through a late night of thesis work.

    Comment by Matthew Dunlap — August 27, 2012 @ 2:43am
  8. Im late to the party but this mix is fantastic, thanks!

    Comment by mb — September 19, 2014 @ 10:01am

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