Swan Percussion based out of Austin, Texas is making some pretty great compact and easily transportable percussive tools. Musician Mike Meadows and designer Eric Holland have combined their knowledge and passions to make some high-quality wooden instruments of which I was most taken with the Knock Box.
The Knock Box is a percussive tool full of possibilities. It’s a small hollow wooden box that can be amplified to create all kinds of sounds. It also folds down for easy transport. Using any standard quarter inch cable, the Knock Box can be plugged into an EQ pedal, any effects pedal, a direct box, or used as a trigger. It can be played with feet or hands as well as sticks, mallets, brushes, or other tools producing multiple opportunities for various sound-making combinations. The range of sounds that the Knock Box can produce is really exciting and quite impressive.
The Variable Shaker is also pretty fun. One of its sides slides off and the shaker can be filled with any noise making substance of your choice also allowing you control over the amount that is added. The possibilities are truly endless. Like the Knock Box, there’s an inherent experimental aspect to the Variable Shaker that is awesome. Swan Percussion also makes a Fixed Shaker that is the same in shape, a 3 1/2 “ square with angled corners, but with its contents set and sealed for your shaking needs.
Made of Baltic birch plywood and weighing 5 pounds, Swangos is a larger instrument (15 ½” x 8 ½” x 7 ½”) yet still small enough that it can be held and played in your arms. Its wooden sides can be played in a variety of ways to produce acoustic percussive sounds. Like other Swan Percussion products, the Swagos is versatile and easily transportable.
Swan Percussion has some instructional videos on their website that can also be helpful with providing a better idea of the range of what these instruments can do.
Review by Iris Porter
Photos by Laura Nalle