Odds and Ends

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Greetings Synth Seekers! For those of you keeping track, there wasn’t a post last month. The plan right now is for Synth You Asked to occur at the end of each month alongside the other regular Lindby content, but due to some big items we have in the works, we decided it would be best to push it to the beginning of October. And as far as those big items go, keep an eye out both in November and December!

For today’s post, my original intent was to go into the powerful world of Modulation Busses. This is really where some of the most interesting and complex sonic sculpting can occur.

However, upon reviewing the plethora of options that come from this section of the Minimoog Voyager, I realized there were a few quite vital odds and ends that didn’t fit into any of the previous blogs.

So, for the sake of being fully prepared for the wild world of Modulation Busses, I wanted to dedicate today to covering those handful of topics.

Right off the bat, I realized I skimmed over a very unique part of the oscillators. In addition to the main three oscillators, there is a fourth option called Noise. While the other three oscillators use specific combinations of harmonics to produce different waveforms and specific pitches, the Noise oscillator is every harmonic at once. It’s essentially sonic chaos/white noise. It has great use in sound effects such as waves, wind, etc. and is also used to help create percussion sounds.

Noise also plays a significant role as the source for a special circuit called Sample and Hold (which will now be called S&H). S&H is a special source that uses the complete chaos of the Noise oscillator to essentially generate a random pattern. When you hear a synth part in a song where the pitches are jumping all over the place in a seemingly random way, odds are that that synth is using an S&H circuit to make the random nature occur.

Additionally, the rate of change in the S&H circuit is dependent on the rate of the LFO. The S&H “samples” a piece of the Noise oscillator to generate a random pitch and then “holds” said pitch until the LFO has a new oscillation. Both of these factors (the noise being the source and the LFO being the rate of change) can be replaced with new sources, but we’ll cover that a little later. Those Modulation Busses are still calling out, and we need to get to them ASAP!

As we work our way down from the LFO section of the Voyager, we come to two knobs, then two switches, and finally two wheels.

Those two knobs are Fine Tune and Glide Rate. Fine Tune literally tunes the overall pitch of the Moog. It’s also truly the only way to adjust the pitch of Oscillator 1. Given that the Moog is generating voltage via circuit boards to create pitches, the instrument itself is subject to changes in temperature. Basically, the Moog has to warm up, and then you actually have to tune it. It’s the price you pay for analog goodness! Additionally, the guts of the Moog can be subject to ridiculous precise tuning, but instead of going into that here, I recommend checking out this post:

Advanced Moog Tuning Guide

This was shared by someone who talked to an employee at Moog. It’s slightly more in depth, but if you ever own a Voyager, it’s far better to take an hour to do this as opposed to shipping your entire Moog back to the factory to get retuned.

The Glide Rate knob ties into the Glide Switch. These two items work hand in hand to allow a glissando (think when a trombonist slowly slides their slide or when a string player slowly moves up or down a string). The switch turns this feature on and off, and the knob controls how fast or slow the effect is. A stronger setting means a more pronounced glide which means it’ll take longer to slide from one note to another. Given the digital brain of these modern Voyagers means there are more advanced settings, but we’ll save that for when we get to the digital aspects of the instrument. The main focus right now is on the purely analog elements.

The other switch is the Release Switch. Release is the final piece of the roadmap when dealing with envelopes (you can read about envelopes and Release here). Since Release isn’t always desired, this switch gives you the option to immediately turn it on and off without adjusting the Release knobs over in the Envelope section of the Voyager.

The two wheels are the Pitch Wheel and the Mod Wheel (short for Modulation). Many, many keyboards today have both these wheels. The pitch wheel allows you to “bend” the pitch up or down by a certain amount (like how a guitarist bends their strings to raise the pitch). Once again, the digital hybrid nature of the Moog allows this range of bending to range from quite small to quite large, but that will be covered later on.

The Mod Wheel is the primary controller for one half of the Modulation Busses. It can do a whole lot more than that, but we’ll dive deep into the Mod Wheel next time.

The last item to discuss today if the Touch Screen. We won’t go into every possible item it can be used for, but since it can play a vital role in the Modulation Busses, I wanted to make sure I at least went over its four main elements. You can increase or decrease a certain signal three different ways: dragging left and right (the X axis), dragging up and down (the Y axis), or covering more surface area with more of your finger (known as A for area). The fourth parameter is that by touching the touch screen at all, that can trigger a gate to open or close. I feel a bit like a broken record, but many of these abilities tie in to the digital side of things, so once that digital post comes up, we’ll be right back to the touch screen.

At this point, the only items on the front of the Minimoog Voyager that haven’t been discussed (besides the Modulation Busses) are the digital center (and the associated buttons) and four special red switches underneath the Oscillation section. Those four red switches are a post unto themselves, and while they can tie in to the Modulation Busses, knowledge of them isn’t essential the way the other items mentioned above are.

Like always, I will leave you with a video demonstrating each of these items.

Now that these odds and ends are crossed off, we’ll take the plunge into the Modulation Busses next time!

Latest Full-Length Album, “Drive,” is released!

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Happy day! “Drive” is finally here! You can purchase a digital copy (as sweet, hi-res files) on our band camp page HERE, or if you would like a physical copy, just send us an email and we’ll send one to ya faster than you can say “Love Your Mother”!

And if you’d like to stream the album for free, you can do that as well on our band camp page, or just scroll down a little ways and do it right here on good ol lindbymusic.com!

We can’t thank everyone enough for all of your love and support! We love you all, and hope you enjoy the album!

Love,
Lindby

Lindby Christmas EP on the Way!

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Happy Christmas everyone! We are hard at work on a CHRISTMAS EP that will be available for a free download on Lindby’s Bandcamp Site. More details to come when the EP is done, but for now, go ahead and read this article by the FW Weekly!

A Lindby Christmas by Hearsay at The FW Weekly

Ho ho hooray! The EP is going to be done next week, so stay tuned for the release!

Love,
Lindby

ERIKSON EXPLAINED

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I suppose that by now, most of you who have listened to “Erikson” are wondering, “What’s the deal with all these Eriksons? Why? What for? What’s it all mean?”

Well, here it is-Erikson Explained. And if you’re not curious as to why 2/5 (.4 or 40%) of the tracks on the album have the name “Erikson” in them, good on ya! Just keep enjoying the music and sharing it with your friends. That’s what it’s all about, anyways. But for those of you who want to plunge deeper into the world of Eriksons, follow me…

BEGINNINGS

It all started in 2006 when Nick Spurrier and Matt Hart decided to do a project on Erik Erikson for their psychology class in high school. To make a long story short, they wrote a song about Mr. Erikson, which was later rediscovered by myself and Spurrier in college just a few years back (to get the full scoop on the old-school Erikson tune complete with nitty, gritty details, check out Spurrier’s blog post about it).

Upon re-hearing the tune, we decided it was reasonably catchy and that with some tweaks here and there, could easily join Lindby’s current lineup of songs. After changing the subject from Erik Erikson to Leif Erikson (c’mon-vikings are totally “in” right now), and cutting out a LOT of unnecessary verses, we were set. We felt, however, that good ol’ Leif deserved some counterparts, each with the surname Erikson and a musical style to complement the life they have lived (or were meant to live). We decided to keep them short (“Erikson, Leif” was only about a minute long anyways), and to have them act as vignettes on the upcoming album. Why?

WHY?

Why, you ask? Well…because we thought it would be funny. And goofy. And hopefully clever. And unique. There wasn’t really a deep, philosophical meaning to why we chose to have six “Eriksons” on the album or even why we chose Erikson at all. It made us laugh and remember the good times (which, ironically, to Erik Erikson this probably WOULD hold deep, psychological meaning…but that’s a different story altogether). We wanted to give the listeners something they could just sing along to and not have them be burdened with finding a deeper meaning in every single verse we sing. After all, there are plenty of other Lindby songs out there that are saturated with metaphors, allusions, etc. We just wanted to have some fun and explore the Eriksons of the world and share them with, well, the rest of the world.

And speaking of the “Eriksons of the world” (which by the way, there are many, many more than the ones we chose to write songs about), here are each of the “Eriksons” from the album briefly broken down for your enjoyment. So…enjoy!

OH MY ERIKSON

Erikson, Leif

As mentioned before, this is about Leif Erikson, viking extraordinaire. You can read more about him HERE.

MUSIC: A sing-songy melody in 6/8. We imagine a houseful of vikings sitting around a large wooden table, drinking and laughing about the day’s activities. A fire crackles in the corner as they slap each other heartily on the back and merrily sing:

Erikson, Oh my Erikson
You sacked and sailed and drank
You loved your mother, Oh my Erikson

EXPLAIN: We can only infer that Leif did, in fact, love his mother, and that he drank, but hey-he was a viking. Everyone knows that Vikings love their mothers and enjoy a stein of mead from time to time. And even though he may not have “sacked” any villages, he certainly did sack our hearts. (sidenote-keep an eye out for Tuesday, Oct 9th. It’s Leif Erikson day in the U.S. and Lindby is DEFINITELY going to be doing something special!)

Erikson, Sheldon

An avid business man, Sheldon Erikson has been the Chairman of the Board for global provider of pressure control, processing, flow control and compression systems, The  Cameron International Coperation, or CCC, since May 2, 1996. That’s one business savvy Erikson, right there. Read more about Sheldon HERE

MUSIC: A medium-tempo jazz tune in C minor. We imagine a medium-size room, probably upstairs, filled with the aroma of fine cigars and expensive pipe tobacco. Well-to-do business men and women fill the room and talk of fourth quarter profits, synergy, expanding their markets, and the latest NASDAQ reports. In one corner of the room there is a bar with a lone bar tender serving only  the finest spirits, and in the other corner a small jazz quintet is starting up their next tune. The singer steps up to the mic and pleads:

Erikson, Oh my Erikson
You drilled for Triple C
You chairman of the board, Oh my Erikson

EXPLAIN: This one pretty much speaks for itself. Sheldon was a business man, so we figured we’d write a song that business men at parties probably don’t really ever notice, but is more than likely playing: a jazz tune. He is the a chairman of the board for a Company named “CCC” and, while he didn’t actually himself  “drill” for them, his company sold the parts that did the drilling, and hey, he WAS in Forbes magazine. Oh..just on the website? Well still, that’s pretty darn impressive!

Erikson, Jon

Swimming the English Channel ONCE would, in my opinion, be a HUGE accomplishment in anyone’s life. Swimming it twice would be downright amazing, but swimming it ELEVEN TIMES? Well, Jon my friend, you have just earned yourself a Lindby song (for better or for worse). And not only has he swam the English Channel ELEVEN TIMES, but he was the FIRST of only THREE PEOPLE to have completed a three-way swim of the channel. That’s there and back and there again. Why, that’s more than even Bilbo can say! NUF SAID. On with the music. (or read more about Jon HERE)

MUSIC: A heavily reggae-influenced, up-beat tune complete with trumpets and trombones stabbing and weaving throughout the song. We imagine Jon, the swimmer, trying to get psyched up for the epic swim that lies before him. Since he’s probably standing on a rocky beach in either England or France, we wanted to create some imagery for him that made him feel that if he closed his eyes, he’d be right there on a tropical beach in Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya…ahem. Anyways, so he puts on his headphone and hears:

Erikson, oh my Erikson
You swam to the French shore,
But before you swam to the Englishmen

EXPLAIN: Jon Erikson swam from England to France, France to England, and then England to France again. From the French shore to the Englishmen, one might say. That’s about it. This one is more about the feel of the song-the horns, the sing-along verses, the upbeat guitar and drums. It’s just Lindby’s day at the beach.

Erikson, Tom

The final, “real” Erikson on the album is Tom Erikson. He had careers in amateur wrestling, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts. Currently he is an assistant wrestling coach at Purdue University, but we decided to focus more on his heydays as an athlete in his prime. Read more about Tom HERE

MUSIC: An ethereal, chant-like tune in 5/4, complete with vocal harmonies stacked in perfect 4ths and 5ths to resemble the music of the far east. We imagine Tom studying with a wise, old sensei who is instructing him in the many forms of mixed martial arts. After years of vigorous, painful training, Tom is finally ready to prove himself in the match of his life against his arch rival. The crowd moves in on the duo, encircling them in a wreath of judgement. A cymbal starts to beat out an ancient rhythm and the crowd begins to chant:

Erikson-san, Oh my Erikson-san
You punched his lights out
Boxing the big cat, Oh my Erikson-san

EXPLAIN: This is the biggest stretch out of all of the Eriksons on the album (save the imaginary ones, but we’ll get there in a second). Not only was Erikson not from the far east (he was, in fact, American), but he probably never trained with a sensei (to our knowledge, anyways) and never even had an arch rival (again, not one that we know about). BUT, he did go by the name, “The Big Cat,” and he probably punched someone’s lights out along the way (in a match or otherwise), so we feel justified enough with the song. Plus, we really wanted an excuse to try building vocal harmonies in perfect 4ths and 5ths, AND have a song in 5/4 time…and use the Moog more. OK OK FINE. But still, Tom Erikson was one baaaad dude! And that’s ’90’s bad, by the way.

Erikson, J.S. and Erikson, Jam

These two Eriksons do not exist outside of our album (as far as we know). “Erikson, J.S.” is a four-voice fugue that uses the Erikson melody as its basis (try singing along using the Leif Erikson lyrics), and “Erikson, Jam” is just us jamming in the studio over the Leif Erikson chord changes. We tagged them with “Erikson” so that the consistency would run through the entire album as a whole and give more credence to us naming the album, “Erikson.” Plus, who doesn’t enjoy a good fugue every now and again? We certainly do. Plus, it gave Tanner Brown a chance to bust out his electronic drum skills and give us a chance to write a complete 4-part fugue. We were pleased as punch. And the jam? Well it’s just us goofing around in the studio, having fun, and Lindby is all about fun.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to not say or type the word “Erikson” for as long as possible.

Erikson

Dang

-Goodrich