You wear it on your shoulder, but it’s not a guitar. It’s a US$425 MIDI controller, powered by SONAR and photocell sensors for Theremin-like control in the air. It could be none other than the latest creation from instrument builder Tony Amendolare, aka ElectroKraft.

You might have seen this instrument in November (see post and discussion on Music thing from when I was on vacation), but since then Tony has posted some video files. (Still more discussion: GetLoFi) It’s a lot easier to follow how the thing works in the video, and as for the spacey lab coats and welder’s masks, well, costumes just help add atmosphere:

Performance demonstrations by Dr. Modulus [QuickTime videos]

Audio sample [MP3]

The sound file is particularly stunning: the genius of the instrument is that it sends cascades of synth notes and percussion, either triggered as discrete events by tapping the, erm, globe, or as continuous series of notes by moving your hand through the air relative to the SONAR sensor. [Read the full description]

It’s a great demonstration of how changing the interface is more than just a gimmick: it can change the way your music sounds. You might be able to play something like this on a keyboard or MIDI guitar, but you’d be limited in live control and it would require a lot of trickery. And, of course, this model sends MIDI — so it’d be a blast to hook up to Logic’s Sculpture, Max/MSP, or Reaktor (among others). As usual, more is coming: Tony promises a model with rhythmic sequencing features.


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