There Is No Sound In Space


The mix of electric violin and electric guitar sounds like a hit or miss affair but in the hands of violinist James Sudakow and electric guitarist Eric Zimmermann the concept works wonders. A CD specializing in instrumental rock, mixed up with some hardcore industrial trimming, There Is No Sound In Space is a real existential sounding album that will blow your mind. Excellently recorded, the CD is at once rock based and avant gard. Sudakow’s sting sound draws on prime influences like Jean-Luc Ponty and Jerry Goodman, while Zimmermann sounds very influenced by giants like Hendrix, Howe and Hackett. Being all instrumental, There Is No Sound In Space leaves plenty of room for your musical imagination to run free and wild. Engineered by Zimmermann and composed by both artists, There Is No Sound In Space makes an excellent choice for rock and fusion fans and classical mavens with a penchant for rocking out. www.evexp.com

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Musical Background

JAMES SUDAKOW: In terms of musical background, I have been classically trained on violin since the age of 4 and am a 3rd generation player. I grew up playing classical music but never really identified with it and always found myself listening to a variety of rock oriented bands. Because of that, I never really found my musical identity with it until I started playing electrically. I picked up on the electric violin about 15 years ago and have really been honing in on and creating my own style since then in many ways in the styles of rock guitarists but with the added dimension of a violin.

ERIC ZIMMERMANN: I’ve been playing guitar for a little over twenty years and I’ve always liked bands and records that had epic sounds. Bands like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin obviously did massive albums but twenty years ago, heavier bands like Queensryche and Iron Maiden were writing adventurous material as well. I like the chunk guitars but I also like the mellow guitars so that is something I like to incorporate in my own music. I was fortunate to take lessons from guys like John Petrucci (Dream Theater) Rich Kern (Kip Winger) and Terry Syrek (Trans Siberian Orchestra) because they offered a lot of musical insight and helped me to think and write for the big picture not just about the guitar. In addition to the guitar thing, I’ve also been doing audio engineering professionally for 15 years.

New CD

EZ: Our new CD is called There Is No Sound In Space and is an interesting album in that it leverages both electric guitar and electric violin together in a rock and industrial setting, something that we haven’t seen too much of out there in the music world today. Overall, the goal for this CD was to create a mood using simplicity. On the album, sometimes we would alternate in a call response mode going back and forth between violin and guitar, and other times we would use layering of sounds. In other progressive rock, metal, and fusion projects we have outside of this collaboration, we have both played highly intricate and technical guitar and violin. We actually wanted this to be a bit of a departure from that in that the focus of the music was to create a more simple and melodic set of melody lines utilizing the “space” in music as a key part of the musical style. Stylistically, we’ve always liked space in music because the space and the pockets allow you to actually hear the instrumentation. I came up with the idea for the title because when we were demo-ing and writing the songs, people would always comment to me and James how the music sounded spacey…I thought it was funny because there is no sound in space. We still have incorporated some intricate parts with soloing and improvisation but have really focused on the melody lines and interaction between the guitar and electric violin. We did all the production, recording and engineering at my home studio in Dallas called Under-Radio Studios. As far as the methodology for this recording, we would do one of two things. I would send James a programmed idea with maybe a few rhythm guitars and he would write around that or he would send me a violin line and I would write and program around his idea. Then we would go back and forth until we were both happy and record the final version.

Favorite Gear

JS: In terms of the electric violin, I use a Zeta 5 string electric violin played through a Marshall Triple Lead amp and stack cabinet because I love the high distortion and feedback you can create through that amp. We also used an Orange amp as well for my sound, which gave us a really solid, thick sound, as well as a change in sound from the Marshall. When you play through those amps with the violin with heavy distortion, it creates a really dark, psychedelic vibe, especially when combined with some of the effects we use. I particularly leverage the Line 6 delay box, which gives me a lot of flexibility on the types of delays, effects and feedback I can create.

EZ: I used a lot of different gear on this CD. For guitars, I used an ESP Strat, baritone and Les Paul style guitar and I always have them setup with Seymour Duncan pickups and D’Addario strings. The acoustic guitar that I have is a Larrivee. It’s the only acoustic I’ve had that I didn’t want to smash. For amps, I used a Marshall 800, Diezel Herbert, Diezel Einstein and an Orange Rockerverb 50. As far as gadgets go, I’ve got a ton of stuff. Soundtoys Plugins, Ohm Force Plugins all the Universal Audio Plugins. For hardware, the Eventide H8000 is a movie soundtrack in a rack and I’ve got a lot of stomp boxes. To a certain extent it’s choice fatigue so I usually just record dry and add FX through an external FX loop after the fact. The programming was done with Spectrasonics and Steinberg VSTS. The audio signal chain for everything was Summit/Neve preamps into Lynx Soundcards and Converters right into Nuendo and mixed using a hybrid “in the box” and “out of the box” technique using SPL, Summit, Manley and Empirical Labs outboard gear.

Musical Influences

JS: Despite being a violin player, I am influenced almost entirely by guitar players and have really in many ways leveraged those styles and incorporated them into how I play the violin. Specifically, Jimi Hendrix, John McLaughlin, Vernon Reid, and Dave Navarro are guitarists who have had particular influence on my playing style through the electric violin. Obviously, I am heavily influenced by electric violin pioneers like Jean Luc Ponty and Jerry Goodman and particularly found the Mahavishnu Orchestra album, Birds Of Fire a great influence on me personally. On a more modern front, the guitar work in the Jane’s Addiction albums really influenced many of the things I try to do with the electric violin.

EZ: Man, there are so many great guitar players. I usually listen more for the band as a whole. If I had to pick, I’d say my hands down favorite rock band is Van Halen with DLR. In fact, I feel confident I can prove that. My wife and I named our daughter Hailyn Leigh and three weeks after she was born, I flew out to the first reunion show they did with Dave, met up with some friends and in the name of rock and roll drank 20 beers in 8 hours and witnessed something I never thought I would see.

Web Site

JS: My website is www.evexp.com or “The Electric Violin Experience”, which is a Jimi Hendrix reference given his influence on my playing style and approach. We have all of our CD information up there, including sample tracks and additional information about us. You can also contact me directly at jsudakow@yahoo.com

EZ: My website is www.under-radio.com and my email address is underradio@gmail.com


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