Berklee graduate/accordion player Michael Ward-Bergeman, who has performance credits on film scores to North Country, is using Eventide’s Eclipse stereo effects processor for his “hyper-accordion.” “When I developed the hyper-accordion,” he says, “my goal was to stretch the boundaries of what the traditional instrument could do. Paramount to this goal from the beginning was effects processing. The accordion is one of the world’s only true stereo instruments, which gave me a tremendous amount of room to explore new sounds with my customized stereo miking configuration. I had used other technologies, but they never delivered the sounds I envisioned. After extensive research, the Eventide Eclipse became hands-down the most versatile and comprehensive solution.”
Ward-Bergeman’s hyper-accordion is based on the traditional accordion but takes advantage of the natural stereo separation provided by the bellows. With a customized microphone setup, the hyper-accordion delivers two distinct tone sources that are routed directly to the Eventide Eclipse stereo inputs. From there, Ward-Bergeman enhances each tone with a multitude of effects, enabling the instrument in concert with the Eclipse to produce unheard-of sounds.
“The entire concept of the hyper-accordion is to unite the accordion with dynamic signal processing, playing them together as one instrument,” says Ward-Bergeman. “It is critical that the processor’s response to numerous and varied performance gestures be accurate and patchable to as many parameters as possible. The Eventide Eclipse has enabled me to achieve both superior fidelity and expressivity, creating a rich tapestry of sounds without losing the natural integrity of the instrument. I look forward to using the Eclipse and bringing the hyper-accordion to new destinations.”
Based in London, Ward-Bergeman is continuing to incorporate the Eventide Eclipse into his mix in new ways, including the configuration of an intricate MIDI pedal control system. Ward-Bergeman just completed a West Coast tour with soprano Dawn Upshaw, Gustavo Santaolalla and ensemble. He will next bring his hyper-accordion to the United States at New York’s Lincoln Center in 2006 as a featured performer in a festival celebrating the music of composer Golijov.