Boris Plotnikov from Ekatarinburg, Russia is one of our favorite up and coming harp players. This fun and funny little piece was recorded by Boris in a commercial for Philips vacuum cleaners. In between the grins, Boris manages to work in some very cool FX. The pedals he’s using include an MXR distortion and a Boss Harmonist pitch shifter–I can’t tell more than that from the very brief shot of the pedals in the video–and there’s a Line6 POD of some sort in one of the shots too. I hear a Whammy-like dive-bombing pitch shift in there, so maybe there’s a Digitech RP in the chain too. In any case, it’s clear that he’s not playing this music live, so who knows what he was really using.

The FX are extreme enough that if Boris hadn’t said elsewhere that every sound on this piece was made either by a harmonica or via beatboxing, I wouldn’t know for sure that that was the case; the synth-y tones that enter around :25 are an example of some extreme processing that nevertheless sounds very musical. There must be a looper (or a multitrack recorder) in there somewhere. As we’ve written elsewhere, when you change the sound, you change the roles the instrument can play in the band; this piece certainly shows that one harmonica and a pile of FX makes for a pretty convincing electro track.

Boris changes his rig up from gig to gig. I know that he uses a Line6 POD HD (though apparently not on this piece), and he’s got a Digitech RP (255, I think) kicking around somewhere in his toolkit too. As Boris shows in the intro to this piece, he knows how to get a nice, fat tone from the harp with nothing else in the mix, and when he throws the FX down he’s putting sauce on an already tasty dish. (Evidently the FX were unavailable when the vacuum cleaner began playing the harps, though the vacuum does have a nice tone.)

Boris drops in to look these pages over every once in a while, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he sends us a note telling us exactly what went into this session. Stay tuned.