After trying out numerous devices it becomes obvious that your choice does not depend on sonic specs solely. Yes, you still do pay attention to the features of effects pedals, but there are certain things that float to the surface. For me, that is the motivation to experiment more. Throughout my career, I have tried out the stompboxes that made my heart beat faster, and the ones that bored me to death. It is not about entertainment, it is about the urge to always create newer, unique pieces that no one has heard before. Such strive for innovation is what becomes the driving force for music, in general, and for your performance, in particular. I absolutely love to see weird combinations of effects that seem unusable but in reality become something that you don’t even know you needed. One of those stompboxes is Catalinbread Antichthon – truly a parallel universe in the world of tremolos. Its distinctive character is what makes you fall in love with it more and more. No matter how much time you spend with it, it is never becomes boring or lackluster. If you are sick and tired of being standard and creating the same effect over and over again, then this pedal will be your soulmate. Keep on reading to find out why!
If you go on the website of Catalinbread you will see that they market Antichthon as ‘Other-worldly tone-generating fuzz tremolo that truly defies classification’. While this description might appear to be an overstatement, when you plug it in and start performing, you will find that it is the best description for the pedal. This bad boy is designed around the ancient Greek notion of Antichthon – an invisible ‘counter-earth’ where nobody knows how exactly things operated. The birth of new universes is linked with the creation of unique effects pedals that do not follow the rules of physics or nature. This concept seems really intriguing and interesting to me and fascinates me every time I pick up the pedal. But you might not be like me and be more curious about the actual features. So, what we are looking at is a black stompbox with dark labels that are hard to read no matter how brightly lit the venue is. After some time, you will get used to the layout and will not have to read the writings anymore. That is when this thing will become your best friend for all those times when you need unusual tremolo. That unusual character is the result of added fuzz to the mix. It is not just a combination of two different effects, it is more like a unified body with some extra texture. One more cool feature of Antichthon is that it is sensitive to your playing. It will respond differently depending on your picking strength and all that jazz. You can basically control the dynamics of the pedal with your guitar. What can be more useful than that? Not much. If you ever dreamt of the unit that would turn all your dreams into reality, then this is the one!
Before discussing the controls in detail, I believe it will be useful to underline that when playing with Antichthon, nothing behaves the way it is supposed to. The encoders are interactive with each other – as you modify the parameters of one, the others respond accordingly. This way your sound remains whole at all times and never gets ripped into tiny pieces. And as I mentioned above, it reacts to your guitar controls and your playing quite a bit. When you perform with Antichthon, you have to keep in mind that you are dealing with something beyond the ordinary perception.
Now, let’s move on to the knobs themselves. Gravity will add all sorts of animal noises to your sound depending on the settings of other controls. It can create fuzzy tremolo or artificial distortion – it is all up to your adjustments. Time modifies the speed of your tremolo and ranges from slow waves to fast mayhem. Then come Space and Volume, which alter the intensity and volume of the effect. These are just general rules that these encoders follow. They will perform differently with each combination and give you ethereal possibilities to work with. Due to such mutually interactive nature, the potential of this pedal is never fully unleashed.
This is where things become really difficult for me. Usually, it is hard to describe the sound of almost any unit, but this one is probably the most complicated one in that sense. Catalinbread Antichthon is the weirdest pedal I have played with. It is full of surprises, because you never actually know what is going to happen. You can modify the speed and depth of tremolo with your playing dynamics. When you hit harder, you will barely hear the effect. But once you go softer, that is when it will kick in and knock you out. You do have the ability to create typical, clean tremolo or unmodulated fuzz, but that is for those who love to work by the books. More adventurous players will adore the animal cries, fuzzolos and all the extremes this baby can cover. You just have to take your time and explore all the settings, otherwise you will drown in Antichthon and nobody will be able to find you. It might take you quite a bit of time, but when you listen to the end results, every second will be worth the effort.
To conclude everything said above, Catalinbread was not kidding when they decided to market Antichthon as other-worldly unit. You will hardly ever see a pedal that is so sensitive to your instrument. You will quickly get used to the ability to modify the properties of tremolo with the controls of your guitar or playing intensity, and might even start searching for this feature in each and every pedal. Just keep in mind that you have to be strong to deal with this one, because it is not shy at any settings. Good luck!
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