A metal detector. One knob for pitch and one for volume. At very low values the oscillator tone degenerated into rasps and clickings. For such a basic instrument, Gerard got some astonishingly emotional performances out of it - Laughter in the Next Room being a high point. In many ways its sound was close to that of a theremin. Eventually superceded in CA's musical arsenal by the Korg MS10. (Ben)

It had a plain pretty harsh tone but, as Ben says, in conjunction with the Copycat, the Oscillator's alien cries, creaks and rents could be surprisingly expressive. It was played, like the cello, with the instrument between the legs, handle resting on the shoulder, the player bowed over the controls. Metal detecting was something of a craze in the late 70s. My powder blue model was the second cheapest in an odd little shop tucked behind a supermarket in Oxford which was entirely dedicated to metal detectors and accoutrements. (Gerard)

Sadly the metal detector disappeared in a house move about 20 years ago. But looking through some very old papers recently I discovered a license for the machine, issued 3 November 1978 by the Radio Regulatory Department of the Home Office. It records our model to have been a 'Super BFO' (BFO: beat frequency oscillator). The need for a license was scrapped in 1980. (Gerard)

See also
abject noise-makers