A Piper at the Gates of Dawn of the Boutique Pedal Craze? Lovetone may be best known for assisting Radiohead achieve many of captivating sounds on OK Computer. Their pedals, at the time (late 90’s), were often derided as being too expensive ($400ish + shipping/duties), too weird, too difficult to obtain (I had to fax their office in the UK, then wait several weeks for shipping), Electro-Harmonix wannabes -all of which missed the point. All that effort, the colorful names & enclosures, the esoteric sounds, all of it added to the allure. I felt an instant kinship to the company. Perfectly embracing and combining everything a Brit-obsessed Gen X’er could want from a guitar pedal. Their effects were like a mix tape of Monty Python, Syd Barret, Creation Records, Douglas Adams, Stanley Unwin, Sgt. Pepper, and a Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck. I had long been a fan of phaser and flangers but it was with the “?” I could finally achieve the low altitude fighter jet swoosh of Loop’s “Pulse.”
Description from the Lovetone website:
Ladies and Gentlemen of tone, please empty your minds of all thoughts and preconceptions and prepare for a journey in spaced out time as you encounter the ?™ (or “Flange With No Name”)! As can easily happen with the Man With No Name, you may see fleeting images which will disappear as you turn your head. You may hear strange and distant calls. Is it just an illusion, or are they filtering through the parallax of your mind? You are aware of movement, but time seems to be standing still (ironic or what!).
The ?™ is packed with innovative concepts producing truly stunning spatial time-based effects. Take the best flanger you can imagine, add a decimal point, an extra dimension, and you might just begin to imagine the pristine burnished sounds that are delivered. The ?™ is the most highly evolved Lovetone pedal yet and spans the whole range from hypnotic chilled out subtlety to horrifying yet strangely comforting extremes. The unmistakeable vintage fatness and smoothness of tone means that when the unit is going ape it sounds like crazed modular synthesis, and not like having you nails removed as is usual with this type of effect. And yes, we have designed it very much with ape-going in mind!
stereo flanger/phaser/chorus, tape echo simulator (using external delay), vibrato/tremolo, spatial fx, pseudo ring mod, tuned reverb fx, rotary fx, special whirling dervish sound, lo-fi fx, sub aqua fx, farmyard sounds, vocal sounds, unique modular synth-type sounds, spaceships and assorted single-engined air transport
© Lovetone 2000
* stereo outputs
* wide range triangle/square LFO
* CV/pedal input for delay time
* gain control
* fx loop (make your digital delay sound like an echoplex!)
* twin mode delay mix
* twin mode regen. control
* gate/sync input
* Loop on/off footswitch
* 2 Bypass footswitches
* light jack (can also be used on other Lovetone pedals instead of passive volume pedal!)
photos: Michael Hutcherson
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