Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Early Christmas in Brooklyn

Today I shipped out two pedals for Mike in Brooklyn. To add to his bass/spaceship noise "Sonic Fiction" rig he'll soon receive the "Cut Off" momentary switch/nuclear missile launcher and the "Infinity" feedback/bypass looper. Here they are:

The Cut Off

Built to Mike's inexact specs and not really designed right, it enables Mike to play a recorded passage or some crazy noise he created into his looper and toggle it on/off like a piano key, creating a stutter effect. It has some weird signal bleed issues but I think I have a suitable workaround. We'll see if Mike thiinks it's suitable. We could be scrapping this and going a very different direction, we'll wait and see how it works for it's new owner.

The Infinity

A pretty standard feedback/bypass looper. I suggested one of these to Mike and he was like "Hell YES! So I built it. It's a bit more practical in that it has a low-value (B100k) pot for the feedback control. It doesn't give you the most crazy feedback, but it allows the user to have greater control over the lower range of available feedback. Instaed of just making a hellacious racket it camn be used as a more subtle textural effect. Of course it all depends on what you use it with. Therein lies the fun.

It sent my old DOD Octaplus off the edge into wild oscillating what-the-furk-is-that-hell-noise, but also let me smooth things out and get some cool ring modulation effects. I was able to create an unholy shriek with my Hiwatt wah, and the pitch would change as you rocked the pedal. With a bit of practice I was able to play the riff from 'Iron man" by just moving the pedal. It didn't self-oscillate my Phase 90, but thickened it into a rich, chewy phase. Also, I mounted the send/return jacks on top to save some pedalboard space. That way you can still fit this thing next to other pedals without the extra jacks getting in the way. That's an exclusive 73 Effects design...:)

Short bio on Mike (hope he doesn't mind). Mike and I go way back. 1993 to be precise. As a nerdy orientation counselor at Cabrini I (along with my future wife) went to the train station to pick up a prospective student who never showed up. But here were these two guys with funny Noo Yawk accents, overnight bags and confused looks on their faces. Mike and his little brother Dan decided to hop a train in Long Island and show up at Cabrini for orientation with no arranged transport back to the college. So we piled them and their gear into my Mustang and off we went to campus. Quickly learned that Mike was a musician and Dan was an athlete. Since I'm about as athletic as Helen Keller, Mike and I got along immediately, formed a band, experimented with strange and fabulous beers, created havoc and mayhem around the campus and kinda became like brothers. I even made him wear a tuxedo and forced him to clean himself up for my wedding.

Anyway, Mike now lives back in Noo Yawk and does this crazy live show with his 6-string fretless bass, tons of effects and a Loop Station. we'll be collaborating on some future additions to his live rig. Mike has been a great friend, a willing partner in crime, a world-class drinking buddy and a great musical influence to me for years. Now he's graciously agreed to be my lab rat.

Check him out here:

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