One out of the box

Ian Jorgensen (Ian Jorg) plays the deluge. Photo: Supplied
Ian Jorgensen (Ian Jorg) plays the deluge. Photo: Supplied
This Saturday, the Crown Hotel will become a turbulent cacophony of buzzing saws and pounding kicks - all produced by a rectangular box not much bigger than a dinner plate, writes Fraser Thompson.

Wellington boutique instrument manufacturer Synthstrom Audible may not be a household name, but its all-in-one drum machine, synthesizer, sequencer, performance box the Deluge has developed a bit of a global cult following for its versatility and ease of use.

Known as a "deluge", these boxes are being used by musicians as far abroad as Norway, Sweden and Colombia. Not bad for six people in Wellington assembling them by hand.

Now Synthstrom Audible is branching out - it has formed a record label featuring musicians using a Deluge, and to kick things off it is embarking on a massive 30-date global tour.

Project Manager Ian Jorgensen explains why.

"I mean, part of the reason we’re doing this whole thing is to get people performing live, you know? This machine means you don’t have to buy a whole bunch of different synths and drum machines - it’s all one device, so there’s a low barrier to actually getting out and playing live, and releasing music.

"And the community aspect is very important to us; I mean, like, you know, getting people playing with their peers and getting excited about supporting shows and releasing things. We’re trying to stimulate that type of passion."

To help foster this, each gig will have local support acts. In Dunedin, it’s Cavalier and Johnny, who aren’t exactly established, which is great. It’s always worth going out to hear new local musicians.

"It’s kind of like 50% curated, I’ll make sure there are some amazing artists on the night, but also give anyone an opportunity to get up and play for, like, five to 10 minutes. I think to me that’s one of the most beautiful parts, and that’s when we discover amazing stuff."

But the headliner, and the most exciting act for me, is Filmmaker, a Colombian musician who has been making dark techno for the past couple of years. Crunchy and heavy, haunting and violent, it’s a rejection of digital precision towards a filthier reality; it’s glorious.

"We were super-stoked when he started putting out albums where the entire album was made on the Deluge and that’s how he performs live. It’s mind blowing.

"You can make it sound like whatever you want it to sound like and it will play any genre of music. That's why this tour, I mean, it’s kind of an interesting tour because, musically, it’s all over the place.

"I mean he’s being supported by a hip-hop artist, Vulc from Auckland, and then Ludus is like electronically, kinda, house, so we’ve got house, hip-hop and then dark techno. And I don’t even know what the supports are playing, I’ve got no idea and it doesn’t matter.

"I’ve done these shows all around the world, you know, and sometimes I’ve got, like, 20 artists on the bill and everyone’s playing, like, 10-minute sets, and everyone is totally different, and everyone is awesome. It’s nice having a nice variety."

The gig 

"Synthstrom Audible Release world tour", Saturday, February 29, The Crown Hotel, around 8.30pm, tickets $15.

For more from Fraser Thompson go to dunedinsound.com.

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