This week, Tim Kampen, a cellist and founder of the group Reignite, takes over our blog. Reignite is a percussive string quartet that illustrates an original cinematic storyline where the music inspires the visuals. The goal for every performance is to make an experience that reignites creativity and fuels drive in a person. Through percussive string playing and melodic drumming, the sound of Reignite moves audiences with eclectic styles, electric tones and added strings. The group is currently recording a record and booking a full-production tour along with educational workshops. Visit www.reignitemusic.net to hear the Eventide H9 in action from our latest videos and see more about “The future of string playing.”
If a string player wants to step into the modern world, electrifying their sound is a must. As an electric cellist that is tuning my instrument down to take the bass player role, the H9 expands my creativity when I’m soloing and composing for Reignite. We have collaborated with the trailblazer of the electric violin, Tracy Silverman, on our original tune Tempest, as well as Grammy Award-winning violinist Zach Brock (Snarky Puppy) on our latest video Despierta. These leaders of eclectic violin playing have shown us the Eventide H9 is a pedal board staple for any fretless and bowed professional who wants the ultimate dimension for their tone. The H9 keeps the authenticity in the sound of the bow and maintains the clarity of fretless fingering.
My latest composition, Despierta, features a cello solo that uses the H9 HotSawz Synth Filter Bass algorithm. Pat Metheny is a large influence on all of my compositions for Reignite, including our last two original singles Despierta and Tempest. One particular Metheny influence is when he uses an E-bow in The Way Up Opening to Part 1, going from such a killer groove with rhythmic complexity, to longer sustained notes that add so much power with the E-bow. This impressed me with how soloing can be slow over just a few notes and give music a change in pressure from very rhythmically diverse soloing. If you watch Despierta, we go from Zach Brock playing a virtuosic solo, to a complete dynamic shift with long sustained synth notes using a bow (no “e”) on my cello. The bow, I believe, is what really sets string players apart from guitarists and horn players by giving us an added texture that then speaks differently through the H9. We can sustain notes long without having to take a breath but also have the option to play staccato like a guitar pick plucking a string.
While playing with the H9 Hotsawz algorithm I realized that as a cellist I had to fight my natural desire to have the strings resonate. I had to make certain only one pitch was going thru the pedal and mute the open strings to get the best synthy sound. After tracking this tone and having the ability to work side-by-side with David Kalmusky, he added a Lawson plate reverb that gave the synth a whole new dimension. I picture it having the depth of a deep cave with a sound I have essentially never heard before. You can see my preset below.
In addition to the HotSawz algorithm, I have seen a few presets that make violins, in particular, sound unique using the H9. Tracy Silverman used an H9 Phaser preset on his custom hollow-body electric violin when he collaborated on our original Tempest. Chorus is another sound I love using when I produce violins. The H9 Chorus/Delay works swimmingly and seems to add a bit of a wider sound to a violin. The H9 Chorus also allows you to add some drive, and I found that it leads to a great solo tone to break away from a cleaner sound. Zach Brock used two Eventide H9’s on our Despierta session Live in Addiction Studios, which you can hear above.