Any fan of Kevin Shields, the pioneering but ever-mysterious electric guitar player for My Bloody Valentine, will know all too well just how rare a treat it is to hear new music from him.
For those less familiar with the pace of his creative output, mbv – the most recent album from My Bloody Valentine – arrived in 2013, 22 years after their previous LP, the shoegaze landmark, Loveless. That, for reference, is five years longer than the famously long gap between Guns N' Roses' Use Your Illusion albums and their Slash-less follow-up, Chinese Democracy.
Bottom line is, new music from Shields is a notable occurrence, which is why our eyes and ears perked up when a user of The Gear Page forum, posting under the name Mosley, revealed that Shields had in fact hidden a flash drive containing an unreleased track inside the pedal itself.
Shields offers no clues to the track's contents other than a brief note next to the drive that reads, “For intended effect, please play at 80db and above on speakers.“
Unfortunately, as of press time, it appears that no enterprising early owner of the Shields Blender has yet uploaded the hidden instrumental to YouTube, though it's admittedly nice to be reminded of a time when virtually all the world's recorded music wasn't accessible at your fingertips.
Philosophical ramblings aside, the Shields Blender is based on Fender's cult classic Blender pedal, which was also favored by Shields' fellow '90s alt-rock guitar hero, Billy Corgan.
The Shields Blender is armed with its predecessor's volume, sustain, tone and blend knobs, and its footswitch-activated Tone Boost circuit. Additionally, it features an Octave footswitch, an octave-up push button, and a footswitch-activated reactive sag circuit, which Fender says “uses dynamic sensing circuitry to create imploding fuzz tones.”
In an age where companies keep finding new ways to squeeze more sounds and functionality into smaller boxes, the Shields Blender is a bit of a throwback that takes up a healthy portion of pedalboard real estate.
The Fender Shields Blender is available now – in a limited run of 700 units – for a relatively steep $499.