TesseracT's James Monteith on Atmospheric Guitar

September 18, 2013

“When TesseracT performs live, Acle [Kahney, co-guitarist] and I generally trade off between playing riffs and the more atmospheric stuff, as well as taking turns soloing,” says Monteith. “Keeping the parts distinct helps to assure that things don’t get overly hectic, and also helps us leave more space in the music. We both play through Fractal Audio Systems Axe-Fx processors. To get those spacy sounds, we use patches ranging from soft amp models combined with long reverbs to really complex chains of delays, reverbs, and choruses—sometimes with additional processing on the delay repeats. In addition to the live guitar atmospherics, we use backing tracks that include synth pads and other sounds that aren’t very prominent in the mix, but add a subtle depth to our onstage playing.

“I play a 7-string Ibanez LAC, which is based on the RDG 2127Z, but has a 27" scale length, a fixed bridge, and a swamp ash body. Acle plays a 7-string Mayones Regius 7 with a swamp ash body. Both guitars are armed with Bare Knuckle Aftermath pickups, and tuned A, E, A, D, E, A, D [low to high]. We also play 7-string Ibanez RDG 2127Z guitars with Lundgren Model M 7 pickups that are tuned Bb, F, Bb, Eb, F, Bb, Eb. The outputs of the Axe-Fx units are fed directly to the P.A., and we monitor with HH Electronics Tessen Range active speakers onstage.”

English guitarists James Monteith and Acle Kahney are practitioners of djent—an onomatopoeic label for a subset of progressive metal characterized by weighty, metallic-sounding, palm-muted riffing, typically on instruments with seven or more strings lowered to substandard tunings. TesseracT juxtaposes that steadfast staccato underpinning with trippy atmospheric textures, as illustrated on its sophomore album, Altered State [Century Media].

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