Noise Peddler is a practice-based research project exploring the 21st century guitar pedalboard as composition and performance interface. Recent growth in the guitar pedal industry has seen a notable increase in popularity of the pedal platform, expansion in the number of manufacturers, the scope of effects available, and solidification of the concept of the pedalboard. The widespread adoption of MIDI/CV control, alongside the packaging of increasingly experimental and complex processing into stompbox formats has expanded the pedalboardʼs potential as a flexible canvas for the creation of unconventional guitar sounds. Performers such as Sarah Lipstate, Nels Cline and Ed OʼBrien have popularised the use of unconventional processing techniques to produce soundscapes where the guitar itself, arguably, no longer occupies the main role, acting as signal generator at the start of a chain. Noise Peddler takes this development to a possible conclusion, removing the guitar to create no-input pedalboard performance systems. This paper gives an overview of the Noise Peddler project, the contexts in which it operates and the opportunities it offers for reconsidering the pedalboard as a performative and compositional tool. It reflects on the research undertaken to date and engages with a series of questions: what is the role of the pedalboard in the performance ecosystem of the contemporary guitarist? How do the affordances of the pedalboard as a performance system, and guitar pedal technology more broadly, shape composition and performance practice? What is revealed of the ghost of the guitar when the guitar itself is removed and all that remains are the pedals? Ultimately, Noise Peddler explores guitar-based music created beyond the fretboard, in the circuits, systems and processes of the pedalboard, informed by the researchersʼ practices that unite unconventional approaches to contemporary instrumental and electroacoustic composition with musical journeys founded on being guitarists.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.