Cast forth directly from the palms of powerful tone sorcerer Jamie Stillman comes the third age of Afterneath! The EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath was a darling of NAMM 2020 with a third pedal version being announced, along with a potent Eurorack module. Stillman recounts crafting the rack module and stumbling upon a rather interesting feature, “Drag.”
“Drag” controls functions within each mode. For example, in mode “4” the “Drag” knob controls a quantized tone covering the chromatic scale. This is made extremely useful with the integrated “EXP” or expression jack now located on the side of the enclosure, especially since this jack also works with Control voltage (CV.)
Each mode is unique and highly useful in so many applications. Here at zZounds, we had the privilege of taking the Afterneath V3 for a spin to try out each mode. Our guitar today is a Squire Classic Vibe ’60s Telecaster Thinline using the pickup in the bridge position. Here’s my bypassed tone:
The first mode up is an unquantized smooth sweep over the operating range. This mode can reach the deep, terrifying depths of low end, but is great to use with an expression pedal to truly feel out a sonic space for your reverberated tone to sit upon.
On to mode 2! This mode is also unquantized but with a slew rate that purposely lags behind the knob/expression pedal when adjusted. This is highly useful for that vintage tape delay sound, reminiscent of turning the varispeed knob.
After that we’ve got mode 3: Unquantized Volt/Octave. This is a bit more in-depth, but essentially this mode is scaled to align with the octave curve and allows for a great melodic modulation of your tone in the buffer, or to control the frequency of oscillation similar to a voltage-controlled oscillator.
A highly useful mode is number 4, chromatic scale. This mode allows for your Drag knob to control a quantized 1volt/octave to the major scale. Listen to how it jumps along through the scale as I sweep it all the way up and down in the following sound sample.
After that we move to the Major Scale and minor scale modes. These are very self explanatory but incredibly utilitarian in their design. You can truly tailor your ambiance directly to the composition you’re creating with these modes.
The pentatonic scale is up next and is similar to the previous two modes. You will hear me sweeping the Drag knob throughout the following sound sample and notice just how powerful the Mix knob is on this pedal. This mode hijacks my original composition and throws a pentatonic scale right over it, creating a haunting and chaotic effect over what’s a nice and clean sound when bypassed.
Now on to my personal favorite two modes on the Afterneath V3. Mode 8 “Octaves and Fifths” and Mode 9 “Octaves.” Both of these are quantized by a 1v/octave spread, but either omit (in the case of mode 8) all but octave and fifths or (in mode 9) all but the octaves. In the following clips you’ll hear the effect jump around, finding the octaves (or fifths in mode 8) while I play my normal part. I am incredibly excited to dive deeper into these particular modes as the sheer musicality of the effect will bring any normal composition to a new level.
The Afterneath is a marvel among reverb fans everywhere, but Version 3 of this pedal truly takes the cake as one of the most useful and fun on the market. Endless hours will be had tweaking, riffing and spellcasting within the nearly endless caverns of the Afterneath V3’s enclosure.