The Vauxflores Number 23 ($179, not including shipping and handling) numbers among the various fuzz-centric buzz-boxes with “heterodyned, atonal artifacts” that seem to be gaining popularity among modern guitarists. Like the Trombetta Tornita, Z.Vex Fuzz Factory, and a number of pedals at this year’s NAMM, in Feedback mode the Vauxflores Number 23 emits random self-oscillating pitches when the guitar volume is rolled down—I guess that’s what “heterodyned, atonal artifacts” means. The pedal is designed in San José, Costa Rica, and each one is hand-built.
It is hard to reconcile the young Harvey Valdes who grew up loving Napalm Death, and Sepultura with the man who plays sensitive standards like “April in Paris” on solo guitar. You might find the child more visible in the man who rocks his Trombetta FeederBone in duo with drummer Damion Reid.
In both contexts Valdes brings a personal approach that is tasteful even when it is being aggressive and a deep appreciation of tone as the starting point of music.
Seattle guitarist Dan Phelps’ recorded output is minimal but choice. Modular, a record with the sometime Bill Frisell rhythm section of Viktor Krauss (bass) and drummer Matt Chamberlain is a feast of textures and rhythms, while his more recent solo EP offering, Death Under Rainbows, explores Torn-like distortion along with Phelps’ unique take on twang. That is pretty much it, but the music was intriguing enough to make me seek him out.
Ian Smit is a self-avowed David Torn fan. But Torn is just a jumping off point for him. You can check out his solo excursions at his cleverly named YouTube site, Racketlauncher. He also plays with an interesting seven-piece band named Monkeyworks around the New Jersey/Pennsylvania border. For his Reader’s Rig contribution, he goes into detail about his elaborate system and offers some sage advice about gear.
I am just starting to catch up on Reader’s Rig submissions after Summer NAMM (report coming soon) and vacation. Swedish guitarist Anders Isberg has two releases on the Mareld label (Substream Music Group): The Space Within (2013) and A Tranquil Life (2014). He has also done two self-releases: Playing in the Dirt (CD Baby, 2013) and recently Collapsing the Wave (Bandcamp, 2014). His video demos for the terrific Paul Trombetta pedals reveal an aggressive blues-rock technique that occasionally peeks through his more ambient releases.