Step Into the Bizarre with This Chaos Generator
This LFO-driven tone mangler expands the vocabularies of expression-pedal-enabled stomps. The PG TWA Side Step review.
Side Step played with Moog MF Flange, Fender Vibro Champ, and Fender Telecaster recorded with Shure SM57, Apogee Duet, and GarageBand.
Adds unexpected textures to pedals you already have.
Results can feel random. Space-intensive. Expensive for what it is.
TWA Side Step
Ease of Use:
I love a pedal that fixes a problem I didn’t know I had. In this case, how to make some of my weirdest sounding stomps and textures even weirder. TWA’s Side Step accomplishes these feats by using an LFO to control the functions and variables you would ordinarily control with an expression pedal.
The Side Step does more than just get bizarre. Depending on which of the eight LFO waveforms you choose (sine and sawtooth are pretty predictable), the rate you select (via the rate knob or tap tempo,) and the effect you use it with, you can use the Side Step to fashion, say, rhythmic feedback rises in a delay or fast, choppy filter frequency sweeps in a filtered fuzz. Used within these and more conventional frameworks, the Side Step can be a great riff- and hook-writing tool.
Of course, it’s also a fantastic chaos generator with, for example, a peaky, resonant flanger and one of the Side Step’s more radical waveforms. Introducing these textures via the Side Step’s bypass switch can generate a lot of musical drama on top of already unusual tone colors. The Side Step is expensive for what it is, especially given that you can only use it with a single, dedicated pedal. But its ability to deliver genuine “where did that come from!?” moments in performance, and its utility in studio situations, will, for many users, make the Side Step invaluable.
Test Gear: Fender Jazzmaster, Fender Telecaster Deluxe with Curtis Novak Widerange pickups, blackface Fender Vibrolux, Fender Vibro Champ, Moog MF Delay, Moog MF Flange.