Benjamin Hinz’s Dwarfcraft pedals produce the kind of wild sounds Guitar Moderne readers love. He also makes hilarious videos demonstrating them. His Memento pedal ($150) is so new the test model doesn’t have the usual cool Dwarfcraft graphics on it yet. Hinz hasn’t yet produced a video either, so you will have to make do with my workmanlike demo of what it does.
The Memento’s right momentary footswitch allows you kill your guitar’s audio output—so far so simple. You could use it to get Tom Morello-style stutter effects. You can go pretty fast, though I found it hard to equal the top speed of a toggle on the guitar.
This, however, is only part of what Memento does. The pedal’s name evokes memory, and stepping on the left footswitch recalls the pattern of up to eight sequential audio kills for cool slicer effects. The slicing rhythm reflects the timing of your kill switch engagements, allowing custom grooves.
With clean audio, a kind of clock glitching is audible along with the original signal. Hinz asserts this is a feature, not a bug. “What you’re hearing is totally normal,” he explains. “I wanted it to ‘snap’ just like a killswitch on a guitar. We tried a few gentler slopes, but after trying them I had to have my clicks.” Feature indeed—I boosted the level of the clicks with some drive and fuzz, stopped playing the guitar, and processed just the clicks for some cool effects. When I played with overdrive or fuzz, the clicks were nearly inaudible by comparison, and in a live situation would no doubt disappear entirely into the noise floor.
Once the pattern is in recall, stepping on the Kill switch again doubles the speed, and once more doubles it again. A fourth step brings the speed back to normal. Continued stepping on the Kill switch repeats the cycle. To erase the pattern and start over, I had merely to step on the recall switch again.
Memento! offers whole new worlds of sonic experimentation to the adventurous player. Dropping the signal an octave with an Electro-Harmonix Ring Thing created some interesting bass patterns for looping and playing over. Some practice with the unit will no doubt let you create specific patterns consistently, but the random results in the meantime will inspire as well.
The pedal should be available by July. Keep checking at the Dwarfcraft website—you might just find some other cool effects you need to have.