The spiritual heir to Lovetone launches yet another monster big-box masterpiece. I’ve covered several of Glou Glou’s pedals on this blog - including the Rendez-Vous Dual Filter/Phaser in my piece on French Pedal Builders, and more recently the Pralines Fuzzy Quad Parallelized Resonant Filter and Moutarde Four Voice PLL Synth.
Glou-Glou really seems to specialise in applying multi-band filters and envelope followers onto any of the key effects types. These big boxes are really ingenious studio tone-machines - which need day-long tweaking sessions to explore all the myriad possibilities contained onboard. The 2 weaknesses with this approach - apart from the enormous footprint, are the learning and time-curves, and the unfortunate lack of presets. You could spend and age getting your perfect tone and then it’s nigh impossible to capture that for easy re-application at a later stage.
Of course the genius here is in just how much tone-shaping is possible, and this is surely a new standard for a dual-drive gain box - as nothing I’ve seen offers up this wide variety of options. Admittedly the BYOC Crown Jewel gives you a thousand different possibilities in a more conventional way - while the parallel dual channel path here plus fuzz, modulation and oscillation is really just incomparably formidable.
There does seem to be a pattern with Glou-Glou devices too - so that if you’ve owned or used one previously, they tend to pass those ideas forward throughout their range. If you review the control topology objectively it’s separated into 5 distinct sections as indicated below - which are not exactly matched with the 6 separate control clusters of the pedal. This seems to stem from an evolutions of earlier pedals, while I might have re-organized the topology a touch for clarity of deployment - I would also have transposed the arrangement of the Disto 1 and Disto 2 Multi-band filters. In any case it’s all rather self-explanatory - even though you do have 29 controls to deal with - which is actually 1 more than the Origin Effects RevivalDrive Custom I just recently featured. Slightly significantly adjacent to this pedal also is the Chase Bliss Audio Auotmatone PreAmp MKII. This STEAK is not exactly a PreAmp as such - but it largely gives you the extended feature-set of one. The number of different gain voicings you can combine and blend here makes for a pretty rarefied experience :
Fuzz, Output and Envelope Sensitivity Controls
LFO Control Section
I really admire these Glou-Glou pedals and love that there is a place in the pedal world for them. I think the only natural place for them to live is in larger studios. The size of these is so not pedalboard friendly - and you would struggle to fit 1 let alone several within your rig. I also can’t see these really being part of a touring rig except in rather extraordinary circumstances. For the Steak I would quite like to see all elements bar the Modulation and LFO in a more compact unit.
I also think this will be inspirational for other pedal-builders to help distil their ideas in similar areas. I’ve talked about 2020 being a year of parallel effects - and this is the first get gain / distortion unit in that vogue. Having two such heavily customisable distortions plus a Silicon Transistor Fuzz in one machine makes for the perfect experimental dirtbox.
Had I unlimited funds and lived in a mansion - I could have a whole separate room of just Glou-Glou pedals. However with my densely congested ’Music-Corner’ in my main living-room lounge, it’s simply beyond practical considerations to accommodate even a single one of those. The largest form factor I’m prepared to step up to is the CBA Automatone format - and I will likely only be doing that for the PreAmp - having a whole pedalboard of those units is almost as impractical as the Glou-Glou’s.
I very much look forward to seeing what artists do with these - and how this impacts the next phase of innovation and development - both in terms of sound-design and playing styles and techniques. Do any of you my readers own one or more Glou-Glou box - and are any of you considering getting this one? Oh yeah - price on this unit is €400 - available from the Glou-Glou online shop!
Here follows the impressive launch demo :