Auto-tune

Over the last 10 years Auto-Tune has pitched-shifted from being studio-based software designed to discreetly to smooth over wrong notes to become the robotic voice of commercial pop music – adding machine modulations and cybernetic sheen to everyone from Cher to Kayne West and Lil Wayne.

Its meteoric rise in the West confounded musical purist and grabbed headlines everywhere from Time Magazine to Rolling Stone but machine-human mash-ups have been a mainstay of the musical scene in Africa and beyond for some time now.

We  track the continent’s love for synths and distortion (from rai to P-Square – the latter extending the tunning beyond voice), rewiring a history of machine and human duets.

See Pitch Perfect, where Jace Clayton sounds-off on highs and lows of Auto-Tune

Also: Dave Tompkins’s book How to Wreck a Nice Beach – “The Vocoder from Stalin to Frampton to Bambaataa”

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