Intro To Effects

Fall of 1994 I made my way north to the mountains, to the cold, and to higher education. A native Vermonter gave me this friendly advice during my first winter, “Don’t worry, once it gets to 20° below it all feels the same: fucking cold…”

Thankfully, I was surrounded by a number of kind and talented people. Many would leave an indelible mark on me personally and artistically. Which brings me to the assembly of effects depicted here.

It was taken over winter break 1995 or 1996 and is the combined collection of Alex Buskey and David Buckland who at the time had a band called Day Remains Dark, a moody, atmospheric recording project in the Cure/4AD neighborhood.

It was those guys who provided my first tangible glimpse into the nebulous realm of effects pedals. Sure I knew, in a very academic way, all the various types of effects;  Delay, Envelope Filter, Flanger, Fuzz, Phaser, Ring Modulator. Even Vibrato versus Tremolo sort of made sense. I knew the whacky names; Fuzz Face, Orange Squeezer, Small Clone, Wah-Wah and the often defunct manufactures, Colorsound, Dallas Arbiter, Electro-Harmonix, Mu-Tron. After all, I had spent more time in my teens seeking out the ingredients to the aural cocktails served up on my favorite albums than bothering to learn the songs themselves.

But it wasn’t until seeing first-hand how those captivating sounds were created that the difference between fuzz and distortion, between all the varieties of modulation became clear. To have the opportunity to hear various eras of Big Muffs side by side or how two of the same MXR Chorus pedals could actually differ was truly eye opening. Here was my introduction to the art of layering and blending effects to create various textures.

Alex had a methodical approach to effects. Witnessing the seemingly limitless tonal possibilities he was able to conjure even with just a Big Muff and Digitech delay was just awesome. At the time, the thing that impressed me the most was his ability to repeat the results. No longer would sculpting sound be the result of luck or happy accidents. And so I began a more deliberate search to acquire a greater knowledge and array of effects pedals. And never more would my signal path be a direct one.

Top Row L to R
DOD FX55 Distortion, MXR M-107 Phase 100, Boss OD-2R Turbo Overdrive, MXR M-134 Stereo Chorus x2, Boss PH-2 Super Phaser, Ibanex Sound Tank FL-5 Flanger, DOD FX62 Bass Stereo Chorus

Middle Row L to R
Digitech PDS-1002 Delay, DOD 270 A-B Switcher, DOD FX65 Stereo Chorus x2, Ibanez AD-9 Delay x2, Boss BF-2 Flanger, MXR M-117 Flanger

Bottom Row L to R
Boss FZ-2 HyperFuzz, Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man, Electro Harmonix “Civil War” Big Muff, Electro Harmonix “Rams Head” Big Muff, Morley Volume/Wah