Ghost in the Lowrey
A 1960 model Lowrey organ, raised from the dead by sampling technology!
The LSC “Holiday” organ was manufactured in the USA in 1960. Sourced from an op shop, this little Lowrey has suffered a lot of wear and tear in its sixty year lifespan. Most of the keys make no sound at all, and there is a strange, spectral grumbling from deep within its dusty valves and meticulously-clamped wiring. But I got to sample enough of the old beast to make an enjoyable instrument, complete with three characteristic vibratos, pedal swells and old-school resonance. As a tribute to its state of decay, the Ghost of the Lowrey also includes the electric hum of the speaker, the heavy clunk of the switch, and the plaintive swirling of confused circuitry.
Recorded with an SM57 placed against the speaker. The organ has switches for various sounds, but essentially, this is the only sound I could get out of it. It’s a lovely piece of furniture anyway.
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Love atmospherics and electro-mechanical artefacts? Then this is for you
At first hearing there’s not much to it but, as with all good instruments, lurking just beneath the surface is a wide range of possibility and creative variation. I love the effects – or artefacts of age, if you prefer – and it would easily be possible to occupy a track with the ‘Electrical’ effect alone. Brendan has hit on just the right description for these; there’s definitely something ghostly about what’s going on behind the notes. I could definitely hear something going on in the background that wasn’t played by me… The vibrato is lovely, though not subtle, and the ‘Fingers’ control gives you something like release triggers only more so. Oh, and ‘Strange Spectral Grumbling’ and ‘The Plaintive Swirling Of Confused Circuitry’ could well be the title of my next tracks.