Soar high or dive deep with a reverse delay and reverb that deals in boundless mystery.
Octave-down reverbs! Dizzying reverse textures.
Control function shifts can be confusing.
Walrus Audio Lore
Reverse reverb and delay are fantastic audio magic tricks. Neither effect produces echoes as much as they warp time. It’s an amazing bit of trickery, and one that Walrus Audio’s Lore does very well. But it’s not the only way Lore warps time. Lore also routes reverse delay through reverse reverb, stuffs reverse reverb through regular reverb, and sends pitch-delay reverb into a second pitch-delay reverb. Best of all, it has a reverse-delay-into-octave-down setting that activates tectonic-scale rumblings—particularly when you pair it with a nasty fuzz. If you’re after massive and mysterious sounds, Lore is a powerful enabler of that quest.
Lore achieves the huge scale of its reverb and delay sounds by running two DSP chips in series with two analog feedback paths. It’s a simple idea, but it makes it possible to achieve the effect of stacking time-manipulation pedals with the benefit of extra clarity and cohesiveness. The five programs are based on the routings described above with an additional program that sends a reverse reverb through an octave-up reverb. And they are modified by a flexible, if sometimes complex-feeling, control set that can home in on very specific sounds. There are no presets on Lore, which at first seems a curious omission for a pedal of this complexity and sonic range. This means extracting the most from the unit takes some study. Thankfully, it’s the kind of study you can very happily lose yourself in for days.
Save for the X knob, which controls decay in three of the five programs, the controls will be familiar to anyone who has tinkered with basic delay and reverb. The feedback and regen controls may shift in feel and, to some degree, function, depending on the program. But generally, they behave as feedback and regen controls would work on any delay or reverb. The same goes for the time, tone, mix, and modulation controls. Walrus may require practice, but the path to mastering the controls is intuitive.
The tension between Lore’s tendency to soar and the massive weight behind these sounds is very exciting stuff.
The Endless, Twisting Helix
Though Lore is clearly built for generating very big spaces, the complexity of the textures you can build creates very nice washes that work in the slipstream of low-effect mixes. Even octave-up settings, which can often dominate a reverb sound in not-so-pleasant ways, can be fashioned into pretty cool variations on tight, reflective room sounds at lower mix levels.
The big sounds are the main attraction here. And there are many that are easy to imagine as the bedrock of songs and riffs. Program 5—which routes one pitch delay into another and introduces fourth, fifth, and octave intervals—does, as Walrus suggests, often behave like both harmonizer and sequencer at times, depending on the feedback settings. You have to work to tame high-octave artifacts (as with other programs, I often kept the tone controls at minimum). But doing so yields ghostly percolations in the wake of your dry signal.
For me, though, the stars of Lore’s programs are the octave-down modes in programs 3 and 4. In both settings—which run reverse delay into an octave-down reverb and reverse reverb into standard reverb, respectively—the presence of octave-down content and the ability to isolate and enhance it with the tone, X, feedback, and regen controls create an oceanic pull and weight to many styles of playing. With fuzz in front, these tones burrow even deeper. Sound seems to fracture under the weight of the low-end content at times. And the tension between Lore’s tendency to soar and the massive weight behind these sounds is very exciting stuff. Anyone who has either chased the tone of Neil Young’s octave-divider-meets-blown-out-Deluxe or spent time working in dark ambient zones will find a wealth of heavy and vaguely sinister textures here.
It’s easy to imagine plugging in the Lore on a rainy Saturday morning and not emerging from the practice space until night falls again. These are time manipulations you can get lost in and converse with. And they can be huge in scope and sonically weird without obscuring musicality. The appeal of some tones here will be highly subjective. Players who find octave-up reverb cloying may want to round down the tones score in the ratings box. But even my chilly feelings toward octave-up reverb didn’t dim my enthusiasm for the potential in the octave-down reverb, particularly when paired with gain devices. Lore did find me longing for a few extra sounds—I wish there were more of the tight, whooshing backward-reverb textures that mark the work of My Bloody Valentine and Jimmy Page. Even without these colors, I found a lot of room to roam in Lore, and I suspect most players will too.