Steinerphone EWI Synth Jam

Sunday Synth Jam: This video, via PatchmanMusic, captures Matt Traum improvising on the Pat Metheny classic James.

Here’s what Traum has to say about the performance:

I am playing the Steinerphone EWI on this. I thought I would play a little improvised version of Metheny’s “James” harmonized ala Michael Brecker. This is a one-pass recording with no overdubs. The harmonizer is an Eventide Eclipse with a custom patch designed by myself being controlled in real time via foot switches.

I am playing what I call a “Hyper-EVI Steinerphone”. It’s the exact same model Steinerphone EWI Michael Brecker played for many years in the mid to late 1980s with Steps Ahead and on various studio sessions. This model was the first EWI that Brecker played and he took the instrument to amazing heights.

This horn was hand made by the great wind controller inventor Nyle Steiner. It is an EWI (woodwind type controller)- but I have modified it internally so it fingers like an EVI (brass type controller). The horn plays incredibly well- it’s the Stradivarius of wind controllers. It is hooked up to a companion synth system also designed by Steiner. In this system are two Crumar EVI synth modules and a Steiner “wood and glue” formant filter unit (which is not used in this video). Only one Crumar module is heard in this video fed into the Eventide Eclipse processor.

You can learn more about wind controllers in the FAQ at the Patchman Music site.

7 thoughts on “Steinerphone EWI Synth Jam

  1. It is rare when such a synthetic sound source has such life and phrasing breathed into it. And clearly Mr. Traum has connected with this controller. It is not surprising to read that this is a very special and modded controller into which he has put his own touches.

    1. I can’t say exactly how he has it set up; but basically he has it set up so that there are several harmonizing presets. For each preset there is a harmonization map such that for every note he plays, it generates a specific set of chord notes. When the chord changes, he taps a pedal and it changes to a different preset and a different map of harmonizations are generated. There might only be a few presets to produce that kind of sound.

  2. This level of quality is what I hope for when someone comes up with a fancy new controller. The actual circuitry is complex, but all you hear is Matt’s solid embouchure and careful pedal-pushing. Setting up several patches for live use is not very obvious with keys, but it sure is here. Bookmark this as a superior example of the middle ground you should be seeking between cool toys and valid usage of same.

Leave a Reply