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Engineering student discovers new musical horizons

Schulich’s Evangelos Lambrinoudis II enhances his engineering studies with stint as Studio Bell’s Artist in Residence
May 8, 2017
Evangelos Lambrinoudis II used his time as Artist in Residence at Studio Bell to record a new nine-track album which he hopes to release this summer on his own Deep Sea Mining Syndicate label. Photo courtesy Evangelos Lambrinoudis

Evangelos Lambrinoudis II used his time as Artist in Residence at Studio Bell to record a new nine-track album which he hopes to release this summer on his own Deep Sea Mining Syndicate label. Photo courtesy Evangelos Lambrinoudis

If he gets nothing more out of his classes at Schulich School of Engineering, Calgary musician and DJ Evangelos Lambrinoudis II can now build the synthesizer of his dreams.

Of course, Lambrinoudis plans to get plenty more out of the electrical engineering program before he graduates, but for now, the first-year student has a whole new appreciation for the complex equipment he used as Artist in Residence at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre (NMC), this April.

“NMC was a wonderful organization to accommodate my deepest gear desires, and I was lucky to work with some of the rarest and most sought-after synthesizers and consoles ever made, including the Yamaha CS-80, Moog Modular, Arp 2600 and Trident A Console,” says Lambrinoudis.

“As soon as you delve into that mid- to late-’70s stuff, when everything was discrete analog circuitry, you are kind of in the electrical/electronics engineering heaven.”

Experience complements first-year studies

The accomplished and popular artist says his stint at Studio Bell, which resulted in a nine-track album he hopes to release this summer on his own Deep Sea Mining Syndicate label, was only enhanced by what he was learning at Schulich.

“I was taking the first-year circuits class in tandem with the music residency and the two sailed together perfectly. My experience at Schulich gave me this epiphany, where I was terribly sad that I could likely never own most of the equipment at NMC, but now with my understanding of circuit design and electrical engineering I could likely build anything I wanted,” he says.

“Point and case, I just put a deposit on a DIY CS-80 clone kit that was recently released, it’s going to be a long summer of soldering resistors and ICs.”

NMC’s artist incubation program offers accomplished musicians like Lambrinoudis, who records under the name Corinthian, a 10-day residency to write and record music on its priceless collection of equipment.

Crash course in juggling roles

If there was one hiccup in being accepted for the prestigious Artist in Residence program, it was the timing — and Lambrinoudis was forced to wear two hats, as musician in the studio, and a student facing final exams.

“Managing my exams and the NMC Artist in Residence was no easy feat — I am lucky to have a great group of engineering friends who were able to crash-course me on the bulk of the materials missed in some of the final classes,” he says.

“The funny thing is, the only all-nighter I pulled this whole year was for the artist residency and not engineering, when I was scrambling to finish the album before my studio time was up.”

Seeing engineering through a creative lens

For some outside the world of engineering and electronic music, the two may seem strange bedfellows for a single person, but Lambrinoudis says engineering gets far too staid a stereotype.

“Engineering gets a really bad rap for being stringent or even uncreative, but I suspect that has more to do with the challenging requirements to be accepted to the program,” he says.

“Engineering has genuinely made me a better artist. As an implicit art itself, engineering has taught me to think and problem solve in ways that most artists never get to experience, and being able to translate that into my creative work has been invaluable.”