It's reassuring to know that in a boutique effects world obsessed with cloning vintage guitar tones, there are still a few mavericks hoping to bring something different to our ears.
Billed as the world's first guitar pedal to let you "take control over the infinite musical potential of the broken sound idea", the Farmer's Mill is certainly not for purists.
Housed in a large enclosure that may seem excessive for a stompbox that's more of a special effect than a whole-set staple, the design has the advantage of spacing out the unit's trio of pots so that they can be easily manipulated with a mid-song toe nudge. Inside, the pedal's innards are wired and cable-tied very neatly, with the main board encased in resin to deter cloning.
With the onboard mix and rate pots and the true bypass switch at the back all self-explanatory, the four-position mill control offers incrementally more chaotic degrees of crackle and stutter akin to a malfunctioning guitar cable or spluttering amplifier in its death throes. This is engaged only when the footswitch is depressed, so your signal returns to a normal, healthy state when you lift your foot off.
Some readers may be wondering how on earth an effect like this can be used musically, but if you're familiar with the way that Jack White uses heavily gated, distressed-sounding fuzztones with The Raconteurs then you'll get the general idea.
From grainy old vinyl textures on clean tones with the mix set low, right through to implementing randomised, stuttering chaos with additional pedal or amp distortion, there are plenty of ways in which the Farmer's Mill can add interest to your sound. And it's not just limited to guitar either.