Like many of you on the quest for tone, I enjoy digging around the bowels of forums and databases to find those forgotten gems, unknown wonders and sleeper hits. Although the Rendezvous has been gaining a bit of momentum since its release a few weeks back, it is still very much an underground pedal. Not many people know about it, which is a shame, because it is a premium product from the packaging all the way down to the deepest and weirdest sounds in the belly of this blue beast. Grab your nose and close your eyes, because we’re diving headfirst into the clear blue oceans of the Glou-Glou Rendezvous.
Usually I won’t comment on the packing of a pedal unless it is truly special. I’ve seen some great packaging, and some horrendous packaging, but the Rendezvous’ attention to design even with just the box is truly unique, and it makes it feel like a premium product. It is packaged in a black flip top box with the words “GLOU-GLOU” emblazoned on the front in holographic foil. Inside is a wire bound and laminated instruction booklet with detailed explanation of the pedals operation, and even a few “analog preset” sheets to mark down your favorite settings. There is a reason that unboxing videos are all the rage on YouTube, and why companies spend millions on designing their boxes. Amazingly, it seems like Glou-Glou’s Olivier Armbruster has mastered the art of packaging on his first try.
BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATERS
The Rendezvous is quite a valiant attempt to take the best of Mu-Tron’s old modulation effects, update them, and mate them into one tonally symbiotic package, where the two different circuits are invariably linked. On one side we have a fully featured phaser and vibrato, with six (that’s right) different phase stage options, along with depth, peak, in- and out-of-phase selectors, and gain options. On the filter side we have four different selectable filters, again with peak, depth, and gain options, as well as a switch that syncs it up to the phaser. On the bottom there is a master LFO and envelope, which can modulate either the phaser, filter, both, or anything in between. There are also gate controls that are reactive to pick attack, but more on that later. The Rendezvous runs on AC power, so make sure you have a courtesy outlet on your power supply if you want to take this on the road.
As you can see, the Rendezvous is an absolute monster of tone, and it can get a little complicated. I will try to break down as best I can how it works, as well as its strengths and weaknesses. There is something here for everyone, so you really have to take the time to explore what it has to offer.
CRYSTAL CLEAR POOLS OF PHASE
Naturally, the first thing I gravitated to was the phaser. It was warm, clear, and very malleable. A simple two-stage phaser sounded liquid without sounding too throbby. Rolling in the peak added a bit of a vocal quality to it, while skirting sounding nasal. Playing with the LFO, I set it to a sawtooth (which is closer to a sine wave) wave and played with the knob above, which changes the shape and response. Turning it clockwise added a rhythmic attack to the sound, emphasizing different parts of the wave. This was really cool with a bit of dirt added before, as it created a very jarring pulsation that sounded very Muse-like. Increasing the speed and bringing the phaser out of phase with the dry signal via the “drop” switches, gave me a really unique faux-Leslie tone that whirled and wheeled with clear definition.
VOCALIZE YOUR FEELINGS
On the filter side of things, I began by turning “off” the modulation matrix, and setting the filter to low-pass. The Speed knob on the envelope is notched as opposed to sweepable, but it still gives you plenty of options for selecting attack time. The auto-filter here is one of the stars of the show; the sound has tons of warmth and feeling. The envelope is very touch sensitive, and it really feels as if your guitar is speaking words it has never been able to speak before. Mixing in the phaser and setting the LFO to modulate between the phaser and filter, I was greeted with warm and buttery modulation tones that I have never heard in all my years, and will probably never hear again. The way the signal ebbs and flows between liquid pulsations and languid thrum is unlike anything I have ever heard, and is well worth your time if you like your modulations with soul.
WHAT WE LIKE:
Warm and soulful sound. High headroom and very reactive to pick attack. An absolute smorgasbord of modulation options, and incredibly versatile.
AC power may turn off some people. Has a bit of a learning curve, and clearer labeling could have helped that.