Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Line 6 DL4 Has Defined The Sound Of Indie Rock In The Aughts

Upwards of 90% of the bands I see play live have at least one Line 6 DL4 in their rig. If you haven't noticed, start looking for the green box next time you're at a concert. It's been as ubiquitous as duct tape and skinny jeans on stages across America since its release in 2000.

But despite being so widespread, the impact this digital delay modeler has had on modern music is often overlooked. It's practically the autotune of indie rock, there to drown any imperfection or lapse in songwriting under infinite waves of echo. The ease with which it accomplishes its seemingly complex sounds is extraordinary—at the hit of a foot-switch the most meandering noodling can suddenly sound intricate and adroit.

Is it cheating?

Maybe. But it's no different than hiding behind a wall of reverb, the sweep of a wah-wah pedal, or waves of distortion—ultimately, superior songwriting and musicianship shines with or without these devices, and at the hands of a talented craftsman, they elevate and exalt rather than camouflage.

And I want one. Bad.

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