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If you’re into weird noises and pedals that can transport you into a strange and delightful world of fuzz and modulation, Portland, Oregon seems like a good town to be in. This is mostly because Ken Schurer, the man behind INFANEM, and fuzz queen Devi Ever are both in town and often collaborating with each other (check out their upcoming Console project). INFANEM pedals span a wide range of uses and functionalities, from the ‘so-obvious-why-hasn’t-anyone-done-this-yet,’ like the multiple stage signal boosting STEP, to the ‘who-in-their-right-mind-would-think-of-this-OMG-I-want-one,’ like the stereo, 8-stage, infinitely tweakable Faye’s Her. All the pedals are 100% analog, true-bypassed, and designed and manufactured by Ken in Portland, but he’s hoping it won’t just be pedals forever. He started INFANEM to make new tools for electrified music by re-exploring the value of kinematics in sound creation, not just with analog FX but with new kinds of instruments and sound generators like tonewheel synthesizers, disc echo boxes, and movable fret stringed instruments made from engineering materials.
Second Voice (Standard and Deluxe)
$215 and $295, respectively
The Second Voice is a fully analog harmonizer that uses a phase-locked loop harmony circuit with separate fuzz and sub-octave circuits to produce rich tones and glitchy synth sounds. The harmony circuit is switchable between octaves and fifths, going from one octave down to two octaves up. The Deluxe adds buttons for individually bypassing the harmony and sub-octave circuits and adds on a resonant low-pass filter that is controllable with knobs and external CV to create much more synth-like sounds. Putting a guitar through one of these can, if used subtly, make it sound richer, or, if used in the extreme, make people question if you’re lying to them and if that thing in your hands is actually a keytar from hell. The Second Voice and the Second Voice Deluxe open up a wide world of sounds previously unavailable to guitar players, and give them the power to further create a more personalized sound.