Little Jack, better known as Jack Lawrence, has played one solo show. However, you couldn't ask for a much more experienced musician to be championing your boutique music gear. The multi-instrumentalist and vocalist plays bass in The Greenhornes and two Jack White projects: The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. All three bands are on White's own label, Third Man Records, which also has the distinction of inspiring two recent Critter & Guitari products: the Septavox synthesizer ($395) and the Terz amplifier ($250). Both portable, battery powered products were made for the label, in its trademark yellow and black colors and are available only from Critter & Guitari and Third Man Records, which also has bundle pricing.
Now Little Jack is making music with both Critter & Guitari pieces and not much else, and we have the exclusive video premier of his latest song, "Silver Flying Machine," which was filmed in the Third Man Records' Nashville facility and prominently features the C&G gear (watch below). The song is a hazy, psychedelic number that leans on several of the Septavox's warm organ and synth tones to create a sedated mood that blurs the line between content and melancholy.
For fans of this kind of vibe, "Silver Flying Machine" would imply a larger musical landscape ripe for harvesting into a full album, however, Lawrence has no immediate plans for an album or a tour; this is just one man with a very specific set of tools being creative for the sake of it. He had been writing a lot on Critter & Guitari's smaller Pocket Piano, which White gave him a while ago, and now he's writing with the Septavox. "Going through the different modes and tones always inspires something interesting," Lawrence told us. "If I get stuck, the arpeggiator always gets me out."
The Septavox has 41 round, maple wood keys, a built-in 3W speaker and lightweight but strong aluminum enclosure that brings the units weight to only three pounds. It can even be powered by four AA batteries (or included AC power supply) for maximum portability. With MIDI I/O, the Septavox can work as a sound module in a larger setup if you wish. It has seven synth modes — like Slicer, Vibrato, Pipe Glide and arpeggiator — each with seven tones, such as sine, dirty sine, square, dirty square, sawtooth and electric organ, for a total of 49 sound settings.
"There are a lot of options with tones," Lawrence said. "You can always find something that works. Not having to multi-track bass parts using the tuning knob while composing is very helpful. It's much easier now to figure out melodies."
Both the Terz and the Septavox were designed for portability, and they're suitable for the stage. While Lawrence has no concrete plans for more Little Jack solo shows, he said if he did, he's definitely use the Septavox on stage. In the video, the Septavox definitely adds to the aesthetic, and that was part of Critter & Guitari's plan for it.
"We wanted the Septavox to be like an instrument you would find at a thrift store," the company told us in an exchange. "One that's well-built and has a nice array of sounds, but also comes with an element of mystery about it: 'How did this thing get here? How long has it been at this store?' That mystery makes room for you to create your own story for the Septavox as you get to know it!"
The Terz 7W amp complements the Septavox not just in color and design, but also in sound. "With the Septavox and Terz, you can have pleasant, warm sounds, but you can find mean and gritty ones too," Critter & Guitari said. "They're similar that way—lots of sonic variety with a few intuitive controls to make the music you want."
While the Terz may have very few controls, two of them are for Silicon distortion and Germanium distortion, which shows you where the Terz's tonal allegiances lie. Critter & Guitari said, "the Terz amp is designed to be a bad ass, loud little brute!"
Hear it for yourself in Little Jack's "Silver Flying Machine."