Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Stomping in a puddle of pedals

There is something you need to know. Listen up. This is important.

Stomping on pedals is as much fun as stomping in puddles on a rainy day.

But why do it? Isn't that just messy and sloppy and a total waste of time? Did you or did you not just read what I wrote above? It's fun. It's about the experience. It's about feel.

In the below puddle the pedals are:

Basic Audio Fuzz Mutant --> David Rolo Stamme[n] --> CooperFX Outward --> Montreal Assembly Your & You're --> Montreal Assembly Count To 5 --> Boss RE-20

Some random thoughts about these pedals:

John Lyons at Basic Audio actually used something that I wrote on a guitar forum to describe the particular character of the Fuzz Mutant (a fuzz based on the fuzz made for the Brazilian psych band Os Mutantes).

"I know the common way to describe OD and distortion and Fuzz is to talk about 'grit', but this mutated fuzz seems to have 'grip'. Sort of like the Mutant has the sticky hands of a gecko. As it grabs each note the pads of the gecko's finger goosh over the point of contact and almost instantly recoil in a soft and lushly verdant yet reptilian fashion.

Nothing scaly and dry about it. This is no Gila monster of fuzz. It seems to dwell in the foliage at the dark edges of a swampy river."

I stand by that description. This fuzz is about TEXTURE. It's also responsive to changes in your guitar's volume and tone knobs and reacts well when run into an overdrive or overdriven amp.

The Stamme[n] approaches TEXTURE from a different angle. The pedal loops short samples and then, depending upon the mode you are in, allows you to achieve smoothed out "frozen" loops sort of like the EHX Freeze, or more choppy, glitched out droney bits that can be manipulated with the large knob on the left of the pedal or by tapping the tap tempo switch or by using an expression pedal. I have an earlier version of the Stamme[n]. There have been some super exciting additions and tweaks to the new version of the Stamme[n]. I might have to try to upgrade to the new version somehow.

The Outward I have is also an early version. There are two main modes, one has sort of tremoloed-delay sounds and the time stretch mode allows you to record 1 second of audio and then stretch it forward, back-and-forward, or reverse. I'd also like to upgrade somehow to the new version of the Outward. I think the tweaks to the circuit make the new version even more versatile in a live setting.

The Your and You're is based on the Crash Sync circuit by John Hollis. It has more of an 8-bit synth type sound. The tone control allows for some great sweep. The one I have is a previous version. Apparently some tweaks have been made to the tone control and the way the expression pedal controls the fuzz.

The Count To 5 has some pitch shifted shenanigans and also some loop-ish modes where you can play the loop and then use the knobs and toggles to glitch it up in various ways. There are lots of secondary functions available by holding this and twisting that. So I won't get into all the complexities. It is a deep pedal and takes some experimentation before you start to figure it out and figure out how you want to play with the pedal and let it play with you.

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