It should come as no surprise that EarthQuaker Devices’s aesthetic dabbles into the occult from time to time, and the brand’s collaboration with Sunn O))) cemented that fact. The pedal, dubbed “Life Pedal” in conjunction with the release of Sunn O)))’s Life Metal features a presentation like not much else.
The limited Life Pedal came with or without a copy of Life Metal, with both options shipping in a decorative box that houses an equally decorative pedal in a reflection of the band’s vibe. The circuit itself featured flavors of octave fuzz, heavy distortion and frequency boosting, with each working in perfect harmony—sort of the ethos of Sunn O)))’s entire body of work. Each of these components work so well together that there’s no wonder it already costs so much on the used market.
The pedal’s first version featured the controls on the front panel, with the top pedal cover only occupied by the two footswitches (see picture under the first series of videos). In January 2020 EQD released the more traditionally laid out V2 (knobs on top), which replicates the original circuit adding Expression control for the octave blend and Flexi-Switch. – Nicholas Kula
Here’s how V1 looked like:
SUNN O))) Life Pedal
Sunn O))) and EarthQuaker Devices join forces to create Life Pedal. This is a limited, hand numbered, tube amp crushing octave fuzz and distortion with boost. Life Pedal empowers the operator to immerse themselves in the same full spectrum overdriven sonic palette as used on the “Life Metal” album.
In the writing sessions for “Life Metal” we worked extensively shearing our tones toward a broader energy spectrum over high powered saturation and across planes of sonic character, with the ambition to take full advantage of Steve Albini’s (the recording engineer for the album) exacting capture skills.
The results are astounding: there is breadth and luminosity of colour, vast sonic cosmoses, flashes of abstract colour (synthetic and objective) through resulting themes which emerged from the mastered depths of saturation and circuits between the two players and their mountains of gear.
The Life Pedal is designed to represent the core front end chain used in those sessions, to drive the tubes of the band’s multiple vintage Sunn O))) Model T amplifiers into overload ecstasy. This is a 100w tube amp full stack’s holy dream, or its apostate nightmare.
An octave fuzz inspired by the Shin-Ei FY2 & FY6 units leads the circuit into a LM308 chipped and brutal rodent big box distortion, recreated with the best components, and including a three-way clipping switch (op Amp, Asymmetric & Symmetric). Second stage is a purely clean boost to further overdrive the preamp tubes of your vintage system into -scaped harmonics, and feedback overtone bliss.