Number 54

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Otherwise known as Industrial Panel 1. Its origins are twofold. First, let’s talk about New Years Resolutions. All said, I’m pretty bad at them. I succeed at the broad strokes, but usually falter at the individual tasks. Case in point – 2015. At the end of 2014, various family members decided to drop in to see how we were doing now that we had a newborn and had recently moved into an apartment that might actually accommodate the space for such a thing. And with them they brought all the stuff I had stashed in their respective houses – because after all, what better time to clean out the basement than when your son/brother, etc. is beyond sleep deprived and lacks the energy and concentration to know whats going on until its far too late. Years later, a friend stopped by our place in Baltimore right before we moved to Ithaca and was disturbed at the amount of random stuff we had in our place. After explaining that my mother deposited every belonging of mine from my childhood ever to make its way to her basement in our tiny two-bedroom, he acquiesced slightly, but lets just leave it that the whole millennium minimal existence where you have three outfits and a computer isn’t exactly our lifestyle. So it goes. At least we have it all out in the open and aren’t pretending to be all Zen while our storage spaces overflow with souvenirs and memorabilia. So it goes.

In the case of this story, one of the things that emerged during this transfer from basement to bedroom was some of my old notebooks from grad school – normally not that big a deal and easily parted with unless you happen to know my notebook game and are aware that my life has basically been dictated by a never-ending to-do list for at least the past twenty years. I try to get to everything (for instance, finally getting the backpack I said I wanted after ten years), but other tasks ended up in a dead end at some point or another – either through technological, financial or theoretical limitations. Once again – broad strokes, but not so good at specific tasks.

Anyways. In this particular notebook was a list of guitar pedals that I dreamed of one day obtaining from a decade prior. I’d failed to get a ingle one of them. And in hindsight, I probably would have hated each and every single one and am glad that necessity ended up leading me to build my own designs. But me being all nostalgic with this notebook and now having both the financial and technical resources to actually do something about said list lead to a resolution of me building three of the still interesting pedals from that list in hopes of satisfying some sort of long-dead tendril of desire in the name of accomplishment. Or something to that extent. 4 years later and guess what – I’m still one short. Because – well, time’s a bitch – hook, line and sinker. In the case of this panel, this was the second of three – completed three years after I decided to undertake this resolution.

So there’s motive one. Here’s motive two – practicality. When I went to England in 2016, a good portion of by gear had a bad flight, to put it nicely. Looking to redesign my touring rig, I decided to go for a bit more of an industrial approach, involving a series of interchangeable panels that can be easily added and removed from a touring rig, as well as be used for studio purposes. In order to maximize space in my flight case, each panel would be 5″x7″, and would be screwed into hot-swappable “boats” where the entire interface is on the front panel – power, jacks and control – so replacing one with another could be done in less than a minute and the rest can remain patched, if needed. This would allow for 12 individual panels for the road at any time, as well as an aesthetic studio setup that wasn’t going to lead to tons of individual boxes littering the house in the name of building a dream studio. Not to mention the thought of having built all my outboard gear – pretty zesty.

So this is panel one, code name: Unicorn, since I was trying to use up all my spray paint before moving (even though we only knew we wanted to move at the time – the destination came later) – I rant out of lavender halfway through and had to continue with turquoise, so it looks similar to one of those disgusting frozen sugar beverages. Under the hood its a clone of a Colorsound Dipthongizer that I picked up from Madbean Pedals – so its a little auto-wah, a little formant filter and pretty weird. I finished it sometime in August of 2017 and it entered service as a member of the Sound System shortly thereafter.

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This guy, along with Panels 2 and 3 were used to remix Esteban Mora’s Eric Eric Copeland album shortly after the three were completed. Moe on that particular experience = here.