I’m Mike Blow. I’m a sonic artist and a lecturer in interactive media at Plymouth University. My dream is to make fun, unique digital instruments for everyone. For a few years I’ve been developing my own instruments around DIY / maker technologies.
Let me introduce you to the Hornet.
Its a kind of theremin – a musical instrument that you play by moving your hand above it in space. The Hornet uses the same method of gestural control as the original Theremin, an instrument designed by Russian inventor Lev Termen in the early 1900s. However the Hornet is digital and updates the idea with many more sound options and possibilities.
OK, what’s so cool about it?
Well lets see…
It sounds great
The Hornet is a synthesizer with gestural control. Every Hornet has a voice switch and a mode switch, as well as speed and decay controls, to give you loads of sounds to explore.
Anyone can play it
There’s no defined way to play a Hornet – its a new instrument and you can play it whatever way you like.
There are no rules! Explore, experiment and make your own kind of music.
With a metal box and laser-cut perspex top the Hornet is tough and looks cool.
Its value for money
I’ve made boutique, super expensive theremins before – but with the Hornet I wanted to make something that anyone could afford. Lots of work has gone into making it affordable while keeping the great playability and sounds of the previous versions.
Its small and light and easy to throw in a bag, which means…
Its great for jamming on your own or with friends
Developed over several years of building and playing different versions, the Hornet is really fun for jamming and a great live performance instrument. Its perfect for improvisors, electronic and experimental musicians, but anyone can play them, and kids love them!
Hornet also comes in a Pro version, which adds CV/Gate inputs so you can control it from your analog sequencer and sync it to your computer as seen in the main video. You can control pitch, note length and speed, and temporarily override your sequence at any time by turning the speed dial or putting your hand in the sensor beam.
How You Can Help
Our aim with the Hornet is to make them available to as many people as possible. With your help we hope to raise £2000 to fund the first production run. Every pound you pledge brings the hornet closer to production and we already have the support of Oxford Contemporary Music who have agreed to match-fund up to £1000! The first 20 Hornets are being offered at an earlybird discount and everyone who orders one during our crowdfunding campaign gets free UK postage and packing (international by arrangement). Thanks for reading, and please, pledge us some money today so we can bring the Hornet project to life!
Mike and Kayo Blow
Blowstudio UK is the creative practice of Mike and Kayoko Blow from Plymouth, England. We are sound artists, experimental musicians and DIY instrument builders. Mike is a lecturer in interactive media at Plymouth University and Kayo is an accomplished improvising electric guitarist from Osaka Japan.