It may be 2009, but you can still play electronic music as though you’re an invading alien visitor from the future. Just ask The Sonic Manipulator, an electronic musical performer and inventor, alias Claude Woodward. His musical creations range from warped radios to instruments derived from turntable scratches and Theremins. And then there are some instruments that seem to be sonic weapons. (Apologies to recent protesters in Pittsburgh.)

CDM reader Andrew Cordani caught Claude at the UK’s British Invention Show. Claude is apparently a Perth, Australia transplant, by way of Cambridge, though Andrew writes that he “has been known to travel about a bit (Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Alpha Centauri, Epsilon Indi, Teegarden’s star and further).”


Andrew describes Claude’s other creations:

Met at the British Invention Show (, at Alexandra Palace (
(Organized by [MP3 player inventor] Kane Kramer –

The Claude-a-tron – a sort of pre-wireless (i.e. wired) Theremin – and is “Way cool”

The Radiolian a lot of fun – Essentially triggerable (pre-recorded) radio samples – Used to switch-between radio programs (reminds me of )

The Greet-o-metre + The Transatron should be given out to all travellers, interstellar or not!

(My fave was the Rap Rod – which does for scratching what CDs did for vinyl. The Bash-a-tron was a close second, though)

Definitely check the Sonic Manipulator site for many, many more bizarre creations if the one at top doesn’t impress you. See a couple of my faves at bottom.

Fans of DIY, the whole event sounds fantastic! Thanks, Andrew, who can be found here (with his own futuristic creations):

  • pat

    This guy is hilarious. For the last 5 years or so he's been busking around melbourne. Nearly every time I see him he has a new toy.

  • Polite

    I saw this guy at the Perth Royal Show two years ago. I wasn't able to stand and watch for too long, as I had child responsibilities, but it sure was entertaining. I really wanted to get a better look at some of the gear he was using.

  • yeah i used to see him around melbourne a heap too when i used to live on swanston st across from the melbourne town hall.. he is EPIC

  • Polite

    Just back from his website. I am quite in love with his inventions.

    Gives me ideas for yet more things i'll probably never get around to building 🙂

  • Sebastian

    His gizmos are really amazing when you see them in the flesh – I thought he was just a Melbourne thing, didn't know he was internationally famous!

  • Hey now, I'm from pittsburgh. As someone who at most of the protests and ensuing chaos, I can tell you that those sonic cannons were a joke.

  • @jmob: Meaning they weren't painful?

    In that case, where can we get one? I want a Sonic Cannon concert. I bet there's some Stockhausen we could play on it.

  • Michael Coelho

    Nice to see another Pittsburgher around here. I'd like to see Pittsburgh be cutting edge in sound, but not that kind of sound.

  • daniel door


    might be the place to go when you're in need for sonic cannons…

    latest issue of de:bug is dealing with that topic, see:

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  • 🙁

  • @peter

    They were annoying, I will give them that. Unless you were right up on the cannon, it was more like one of those fire alarms with the lfo like sound. The geek in me marveled at the way it carried a voice. I think thats the real innovation. At one point, that thing was at least half a mile away and I could clearly hear the looped message with no distortion. crystal clear.

    I'm quite sure that had it on the "lame" setting for all of the students and "anarchists"

  • @Michael Coelho

    you got that right. I pittsburgh by way of baltimore

  • luke

    lol they are some crazy inventions really good tho!! really random but really good!

  • seadnamc

    crazy stuff. looks like someone i know. keep up the good work.

  • heh… The Sonic Manipulator is a regular street performer on Swanston st Melbourne ( Australia), on Friday and Saturday nights… funny to see him popping up here..

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