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This Week’s Favorite: Donivan Berube

This Week’s Favorite is “So Much No Mountain” by Arizona singer-songwriter Donivan Berube. Berube’s deft use of El Capistan’s delay and tape saturation effects combined with the interplay between guitar, vocals, and saxophone make for a moody and melancholy backdrop perfectly suited for the song’s lyrics.

“So Much No Mountain” is part of a larger collection of solo tracks Berube composed in the years that followed the dissolution of his longtime musical collaboration and marriage to singer-songwriter Jacquelyn Beaupre in the duo “Blessed Feathers.”

His music has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition and he has toured the US, Canada, and Europe with bands such as Father John Misty, Youth Lagoon, and the Cave Singers. Check out the song and Berube’s explanation of the El Cap settings he used for it below. Enjoy!


Donivan Berube’s “So Much for No Mountain”


In “So Much for No Mountain,” I re-recorded the complete song through my pedalboard, leaning heavily on El Capistan for the tape saturation and delay effects. The song opens with a warbling build that I made by automating the delay time and exposure. Towards the end of the song, it descends back into an off-centered decay. I was basically trying to make it sound like the song was playing back on a broken tape, as if it were falling apart in real time, ready to give out at any moment.

Sometimes I use El Capistan with repeats at a minimum, simply to make use of its amazing deconstructing tape sounds. Other times, I’ll maximize the mix and repeats and let a loop play for upwards of thirty minutes, waiting to hit record until the aging repeats have reached an archaic high. Either way, it’s become a vital and versatile tool in the studio.

To hear more of Donivan’s music check out his YouTube, Soundcloud, Instagram, and Facebook pages. In addition to playing music, Berube is also a writer, luthier, and current music editor for American Trails magazine.

What do you think?

Post a video or clip online playing this preset, and please share by tagging #strymonpreset. Are there other preset/favorite types that you’d like to see in upcoming blog posts? Let us know what you think. Thanks!

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