This episode pools recordings for a forthcoming workshop at Music Hackspace in London, exploring the physical, electronic and software simulated creation of non-human voices and vocalisations. The history of speech synthesis stresses the mundane, the military and the spectacular, commencing with Van Kempelen’s 18th century rubber squeaking or speaking machine. The basic principle of simulating the vocal tract through electronic and physical means was submitted to the military demands of compression and encryption, segmenting out parts of the speech process and reducing redundancy.

In the process communication becomes the business of circuit-bent human-worms, opening human and animal speech to the cut-up, to stammerings, stutterings and tics; to an extra-human, outer-word terrain of numbers burrowed and nibbled by the earthworms.

This episode and workshop will feast on this electronic legacy, opening with new recordings from the ERD WORM post-human speech synthesizer, followed by key archival recordings from the history of speech synthesis. This speech is produced by Festival free software.