The Eau Claire Thunder from Dwarfcraft Devices is the big one; big tones, big features and a big, knob laden enclosure. This pedal cranks out all manner of fuzz from the blunted, smokey kind of Sabbath style fog to the much more modern aggressive waves of noise rock bliss. The five knobs on the pedals face seem infinitely interactive and changing one leads to variations in the way they combine with each other. While some people may find this strange, it should be noted that the ECT is not a good house guest. It’s cooperating just long enough to get the job done before trashing the place and leaving through the back door. Sturdy metal construction and heavy duty foot switches de rigueur are there as expected, while the finish is kind of gum paste propaganda poster which is refreshing and punk-y.
The ECT sounds, at times, like a circular saw. It won’t be polite. It may be out to steal your woman, drink your whiskey and destroy your hearing. Housed within its die-cast enclosure, it has the unrelenting force of a Wisconsin winter storm. At its core is a standard volume, tone, gain arrangement yielding a distortion that is much less tubby and bouncy than a Muff derivative. The “Timewarp” toggle switches out two different sets of clipping diodes changing the attitude of the pedal from vintage to modern, a feature that I find almost doubles the uses of this pedal. Lost in the mix? Bump the “Toneblast” footswitch – which removes the tone stack from the circuit – and get unfiltered distortion in waves. Want to blind people with oscillating shards of noise tunable to the frequency of your choice? The ECT has got you covered with an internal feedback loop on a momentary foot switch so spin the “Feedback Tune” knob and blast away.
If all of this sounds exciting that’s because it is. While most effects out there are rehashing old designs or dragging long dead circuits up from the grave, AEN and the very small crew over at Dwarfcraft are doing it their own way. Their renegade designs command attention from all walks, and have found their way into the arsenals of some of the most creative and talented musicians and sonic experimentalists including Justin Meldal Johnson, Juan Alderete and Takeshi from Boris. If you are looking for something new and exciting we recommend you check out all of the wondrously different and exciting creations from Dwarfcraft.