Sonic Baton (2012-)

The Sonic Baton is a unique performance instrument based on a conductor’s baton; designed by Dr Mike Blow, from an idea by artist Joseph Young. The baton is a midi controller for ‘conducting noise’. 

Young says “As an artist, I was fed up with going to sound art performances where the artist was sat behind their laptop with no obvious physical relationship to the sounds they were making, most of which were also pre-recorded. I therefore came up with the concept of the Sonic Baton, which serves to act a visual focus for the audience as well as concentrating the audience’s attention on the listening process.

Listening is at the heart of my practice, and I express this through detailed and textured field recordings. Through the movement of the baton I can mix sounds ‘live’ in real-time offering a performative and interactive way of listening to the sounds of the world around us.”

Technical note:
An orchestral conductor’s baton modified with an accelerometer, connected to a custom-made Arduino board that translates movement into midi data. This data is transmitted to the laptop via a specialist Max/MSP patch which interfaces with control software Ableton Live.

Example Programme:
Two 15 minute performances featuring contrasting sets of sounds.
1. Fire and water (sounds of nature)
2. Ceramic manufacturing sounds (small-scale making sounds and industrial processes)