Traversing Time Zones in Four Dimensions
Delay junkies rejoice. No, I didn’t put the decimal point in the wrong place above. This incredible new multi-delay and looper from sonic sorcerer and Scofield accompanist, Avi Bortnick (and his digital design partner Maximos Kaliakatsos) comes in the form of an app. It is time to dust off those iOS audio interfaces (iRig, Apogee Jam, Fender Slide, and others) and tuck in to a time-based twilight zone of tonal intrigue. Echo Pitch is a tidy, aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-tweak app that sports four independent delay lines and in-time sync, which can be pitch-shifted or even routed through a Master Delay that functions as a looper. What’s more is the built-in Amp Simulator and tasty touch of reverb on tap to smear the rhythmic harmonies and swirling arpeggio architectures into the mix seamlessly when playing through headphones or jacking straight into an audio interface.
When I first downloaded the app, I was on a walk and decided to open Echo Pitch before I got home to get a lay of the land. To my surprise and delight—with no adaptor plugged in—the app was using my iPhone’s internal microphone and it was registering my heavy breathing and mangling it into a prismatic glitch-storm of cyclical mayhem… so far so good and the guitar hasn’t even been plugged in. I digress, but this unintended, out-of-control sound generation alone is worth a couple bucks for those looking for an off-kilter sample to loop (or a thousand). However, plugging in properly with my iRig Adaptor blew open a purple-and-black world of shifting warp zones and cyclical, musical beauty. I was bathed in a Frippertronics-esque factory of looping rhythmic joy.
Though Echo Pitch is capable of a myriad of musical settings and highly fine-tuneable, the interface is completely intuitive. Each delay line features four parameters that read from left to right: Time, Pitch, Feed and Level. Tweaks for each can be controlled via touch screen and shift in a radial semicircle. The Master Delay allows HiCut for repeat filtering, which can turn sharp mirror-like sound imaging into darker, more analog-sounding pads. One of my favorite things to do getting a little loop going with the Master Delay and do real-time-shifting subtle tweaks to the loop for some trippy atmosphere conducting. One can also route the individual delay lines into each other in the Matrix mode, to twist time and space even further. I haven’t even mentioned Presets yet. I am finding it hard to leave the tone-zone of Smokey Mirror, although I have tweaked it by adding overdrive to the delays and a healthy dollop of wet verb to the equation for extra spaghetti Western grit and spit.
What We Like
Echo Pitch is much more than a toy, but what a fun toy it is. It’s not unlike having a little taste of an Eventide H910 or TC Electronics 2290 vintage rack system on hand whenever you like . . . and Echo Pitch is more addictive than a bag of blue corn tortilla chips and a bowl full of fresh guacamole. Stop contemplating and just dig in. If one can’t have fun or get inspired by this app, there is something wrong with them and the fact that this much tonal exploration is available for a couple bucks makes Echo Pitch an unmissable affair—easily, the most fun I have had with a guitar and an iPhone. Kudos to Avi and Max for their ingenuity and for making a guitar product that will satisfy experimentalists and traditionalists alike—a very hard balance to strike.
Of course, I’d love to see an Echo Pitch dedicated hardware pedal with the same control set and extended features. Also, for those who are wondering if EP is going to get backwards delays and inter-app audio routing capabilities, both these features are in the works and will be available via update soon.