Indianapolis garage rock thrashers Brother O Brother have announced that their new album Skin Walker will be released as a guitar pedal. And if that doesn’t make any sense at all, it’s exactly as it sounds: it’s a vinyl record, and it’s also a guitar pedal.
This unholy innovation comes from pioneering vinyl experimentalists Romanus Records, who have something of track record where it comes taking the humble long-player places it’s never been before. Romanus filled one LP with razor blades and gunpowder, embedded LEDs in another, and even worked on a limited edition “liquid-filled snowglobe variant” vinyl edition of the soundtrack of the Bill Murray comedy Scrooged.
Skin Walker will be released as a pair of vinyl LPs, each considerably thickened to house the pedal electronics, with the control knobs positioned on the centre labels. One pedal will offer overdrive/boost, and feature a toggle switch to control two different channels, while the other is a delay pedal, with four settings to create unique combinations of delay.
While each vinyl LP/pedal is fully turntable compatible, listeners will need a tonearm with adjustable VTA (Vertical Tracking Angle) to lift the cartridge into a position where optimum hi-fi is achieved. And if none of this make any sense, Romanus have put together a handy video (below) demonstrating how it all works.
The Skin Walker vinyl/pedal combo, which is the result of a collaboration between Romanus Records and Audio Disruption Devices, a company based in Mooresville, IN, is limited to just 35 units, which will go on sale from the Romanus website (opens in new tab) on September 17 at 3PM EST. For the less electronically inclined, the album will also be available in three, more “normal” limited edition vinyl variants: tri-colour, splatter, and sand-filled glow in the dark.
“All gas, no brakes, Skin Walker refers to the Native American legend of shapeshifting humanoids,” say Brother O Brother, whose frontman Chris Banta is also the man behind Romanus Records. “Often through possession and disguise, few things felt more relevant to the world around us when writing this LP from a cultural sense.
“The writing goals were to write the heaviest garage and psych infused LP we could while communicating our message and story. Discussion of new and emerging A.I. tech, mass surveillance, big brother, along with political polarisation at an all-time fever pitch made the LP cathartic to write.
“We believe this is our most complete work to date with more production, time, and investment poured in than ever before.”