In case you missed it last Friday, the StarWars.com Soundboards updated with an entry for Lobot, the mute Cloud City operative who works behind the scenes for the scheming Lando Calrissian. Think Lobot’s a strange fit for the Soundboards? Perhaps, but we’ve asked StarWars.com’s senior designer Craig Drake, a vintage synth musician when he’s not designing cool Empire Strikes Back landing pages, a few questions about his Lobot “speak”:
So, why give Lobot a voice?
“Let’s face it, Lobot is the man!… er… man-droid… er cyborg. He’s the unsung Cloud City hero. I’m sure most Lobot fans have been curious about his silent yet effective methods over the years. This was a chance to bring them to light without unmasking too much of his mystery.”
Just what is going on inside of Lobot’s head?
“We knew right away it wasn’t actual speech. Lobot’s binary vocabulary is more evolved than typical human speech, yet his internal audio flow is not without meaning and personality. The aim was to create the reactive data sounds that occur in Lobot’s mind throughout various scenes in Episode V.”
The Minimoog Drake used for Lobot’s voice
What equipment was used to create Lobot “speak”?
“Ben Burtt paved the way — since he used the now infamous Arp 2600 synthesizer for R2-D2’s chatter in the late ‘70s, I wanted to employ similar synthesizers from that era for a tangible signature sound.
“Primarily for Lobot, two vintage keyboards were used: the Oberheim 2 Voice and the Minimoog. The Oberheim produced the “talky” high-pass filter bloops and the Minimoog provided its iconic lower frequency foundation. For extra random chatty sounds, the Japanese Gakken Theremin was also snuck in. All of which were then put through the Waldorf 4pole analog filter bringing it together.”
Here’s the dialog referenced in the Soundboards with the appropriate imagery attached:
Drake suggests these sites to learn more about the vintage synth instruments used for Lobot:
Oberheim 2 Voice (Used by: Prince [4voice version], Vince Clarke)
Waldorf : MiniWorks 4-Pole