Chase Bliss Onward

Lately, every new Chase Bliss release feels like the unveiling of a new, magical (sonic) toy. The latest device to join this creative family of circuits is Onward, an evolution of an existing pedal by Cooper FX (whose owner Tom Majeski is now part of the Chase Bliss team), called Outward. It’s a stereo in/out sampler featuring parameters that can be controlled directly through the signal of what you feed into it – or, to quote the manufacturer: “a sampler [that] moves when you do, capturing the sounds you make to create rich musical landscapes.”

Like most of the other recent releases by the Minnesotan brand, Onward features two channels that interact with each other. In this case, there’s a “freezeside creating soft, smooth sounds, and a “glitch” side for more angular looping sounds. The two sides can be split or combined to create incredibly intriguing textures and inspiring happy accidents.

As expected, the numerous controls open up a host of creative possibilities including textural, harmonic, and spatial options, in part controllable through a synth-inspired Shape section that can deliver anything from slow swells to sustained drones to sound explosions. There’s also an Error knob that introduces random irregularities in timing, playback and other parameters to spur happy accidents and unexpected results.

Onward Pedal Dips ChaseBliss1

As evident from this photo showing the 16 DIP switches on the back of the Onward, there’s much more to this pedal, like MIDI, CV and Expression control, presets, and internal modulation of any or all its knobs. The videos below will walk you through many more things you can do with it.