Vocoder were a quartet from Zaragoza, Spain formed in 1981. Keyboardists Antonio Laval and Alfonso Olarte attended the same university and fell in love with a Korg MS-20 synthesizer in a music shop window. They met keyboardist Antonio Tenas at a local radio station and were later joined by vocalist Pilar Pellicer. They recorded several demos with synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines, creating a soundtrack for the clubs and dance floors. Inspired by the “Movida Madrileña,” they sent demos to various record companies. The band signed a deal with Aviador Dro’s sublabel Neón Danza and released two EPs, “What Happens Now”/”Radio” in 1984, “Mindanao”/”Amor de Robot” in 1985 and a self-titled LP which was produced by Michel Huygen (Neuronium) in 1987. All songs were recorded at Doublewtronics Studios in Madrid, Spain, using the most advanced and sophisticated techniques of time in digital recording and Direct Metal Mastering (DMM). The band utilized many professional synthesizers of the time: Roland Juno 60, Prophet V, Korg Poly 61, Yamaha DX-7, Roland TR-909 and the Linn Drum, which was used by most Italo Disco artists. Their songs were recorded in the highest fidelity with disc jockeys in mind. Genuinely catchy, Vocoder combined soaring melodies with cybernetic coldness. A futuristic sound for the modern age topped with Pilar’s charismatic vocals. Lyrically they address robotic love, disco dancing, and the tropical island of Mindanao, and sing in Spanish, English and French. Vocoder also appeared on the TV program “La Bola De Cristal”, presenting their music video for “What Happens Now”, in which the band danced in a supermarket with a shopping cart full of synthesizers. The group mutually disbanded in 1988 and continued to organize concerts for other groups touring in Spain.
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