The Official Steve Vai Website
Inside Real Illusions: Reflections Home  >  Inside Real Illusions: Reflections  >  Track 8: “Yai Yai”


Jem7VWH - “EVO”


Track 08

“Yai Yai”

How The Song Came About:

Eventide Electronics company are famous for making the first harmonizer. As a matter of fact, I believe they have a patent on the word ‘harmonizer’. They virtually revolutionized the studio outboard gear world with their 969.

In the mid ’80s they contacted me and asked what I would like to see in a harmonizer. I told them that nobody has ever made a harmonizer with diatonic pitch change. I then explained to them what that means. It’s the concept of a pitch that is set to track another pitch within a particular scale. If all the harmonized notes track the main note within the parameters of a particular scale, then that would be considered diatonic pitch change. There were many other things I suggested such as

  1. multiple harmony capabilities
  2. The ability to E.Q. various voices within a harmony to cut back on the munchkin effect.
  3. Algorhythms that allow various effects to kick in when in a particular dynamic range.
  4. Dynamically sensitive frequency modulation
  5. modulating frequency filters.

There was a slew more and I have a report I wrote for them around some place.

As a result they created the H3000 which was the first harmonizer with diatonic pitch change. The following models, such as the DSP 4000 contained many of the other suggestions I made and one of them was the modulating frequency filters.

The DSP 4000 is the device I used to build the patch that makes that Yai Yai sound whenever you play a note.

What Was I Thinking:

The album liner notes:

Finally, it was Buddy Graham’s turn. Everyone was eager to see what was to become of him.

‘For fouling off at the mouth about everyone you know, thus making their life miserable with your insidious and hurtful lies, from here on, the only words that will come out of that hole — no matter what you try to say — will be, ‘Yai Yai,’ until the day that your lips move while your eyes make water. You’ll know how to forgive after that.’”

Additional Story Info:At the end of the piece when the drum box drops out is when Buddy Graham is trying to speak while water is coming from his eyes...

Instruments Used:

Guitar/Amp: Evo direct into Eventide DSP 4000.

SV Comment:

I feel there is an exquisite beauty in the song’s production and melodic simplicity. There’s something playfully charming about it, yet although the piece only annunciates the word Yai, it always seemed to speak volumes to me. home