Pedals

Catalinbread Antichthon

  • By David A. Evans @tonereport
  • March 19, 2015
  • 2 Comments

Catalinbread’s new Antichthon is essentially a fuzz pedal combined with a square-wave tremolo circuit. Unlike a simple “two-in-one” effect, however, the Antichthon will deliver far more than its simple black housing might indicate. This thing will create anything from bird and dolphin cries to dark, fuzzy tremolo, to digital-sounding square wave distortion. Potential buyers should know that it’s a pedal that requires a bit of finesse and experimentation. However, with practice, the Antichthon will reveal its fascinating possibilities.

Because of the pedal’s sensitivity to changes in input voltage, the instrument’s volume knob can act as a tremolo speed and intensity control. With the pedal’s Volume at noon and Time (tremolo speed) and Space (tremolo depth) at roughly two o’clock, a low instrument volume produced slower tremolo. In contrast, a higher instrument volume produced faster tremolo. Moreover, at the higher instrument volumes, the Antichthon produces fuzz “up front,” without tremolo, then fades into a fuzzy tremolo sound.

When the input volume was at roughly two or three, the Antichthon produced a wonderful, melancholic dirty tremolo sound. The sound at this setting reminded this reviewer of the best that dark, rich distortion and tremolo can be. The effect took on a Leslie-like warble that would be fantastic for an electric piano. It even sounded a bit like it had a built-in reverb. Higher input volume levels generated the “up front” fuzz and a gradual fade into tremolo-fuzz.

In testing, the Antichthon generated the aforementioned sounds at the lowest possible “Gravity” knob setting. Adding a bit of Gravity with this knob is basically like buying a second pedal, one that requires only adjustment of the instrument volume knob. When the Gravity knob is at nine or so, the guitar’s volume knob will, when turned, modulate the “chirps” that the Gravity circuit produces. All sorts of strange animal noises will emerge from the pedal: birds, dolphin cries, insect buzzing and more. Play with the instrument volume knob enough and one will swear that someone in the other room has foolishly started to play Jumanji, in which one’s room has turned into a jungle.

Curiously, the Gravity and Time knobs work in tandem. Below 11 o’clock or so on the Time knob, the Gravity knob controls the animal noises. None of the regular “fuzzolo” sounds will be heard here. However, with Time above 11, the Antichthon will generate a thin, almost digital sort of distortion, a sort of clipped square wave sound. When the Time is at 11 or below, the Gravity knob’s setting will also restrict the range of noises that the guitar’s volume knob will make. So, at 9 o’clock, the guitar’s volume knob will make animal noises between its lowest setting and 3, then stop again up until 7 to full volume.

This is a pedal that demands exploration and patience. Sure, some pretty good transparent fuzz will come out of it with just a bit of fiddling, but its potential will not be realized without that fiddling. Like a good wine, the Antichthon will likely get even better with age, or like a musician, with experience. Highly recommended.

What we like: Totally off-the-wall animal noises, digital-type square wave distortion, and mellow fuzz all controllable via the instrument’s volume knob. It’s a pedal that, like an unexplored territory, calls for adventure.

Concerns: It’s a minor thing, but the labels were a little hard to read. It would have been nice to have a separate fuzz-level control as well.

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2 Comments

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