At a young age, Joey Gurwin became obsessed with the idea of creating a record — so much that in 2009, Gurwin and Brandon MacLean opened the doors to Oranjudio, a musical collective of sorts.

The team booked the space for projects and paid the bills together; it lasted for five years before the collective’s growth and a break-in prompted relocation. Now Oranjudio is an independent recording studio, recognizable because of its orange door, in Grandview Heights.

Gurwin, 36, produces records for independent, regional and national artists; he primarily records with locals but sometimes works on records for big-name labels.

He often arrives at the studio after dropping his daughter off at school and is kept busy with writing, recording and mixing until he runs out of either energy or tasks to complete. For an average record, Gurwin conservatively estimates 200 hours of work.

“I love seeing something that starts as a rough idea and turns into something you drop a needle on and listen to,” Gurwin said. “The intoxication of a completed record, once it’s done, is something that’s never really gone away.”

Music easily can travel the world.

Total strangers might listen to a record that Gurwin helps produce, and his influence spans oceans.

That never has been more relevant than when a German label owner, Samy Ben Redjeb of Analog Africa, called Gurwin from Tunisia about digitizing and remastering cassette tapes.

When Gurwin agreed to help, Redjeb flew to Columbus with tapes from the Dur-Dur Band, a popular disco group from Mogadishu, Somalia, in the 1980s.

Redjeb tracked down the band’s lead singer, who lives in Columbus, came to Ohio to begin the project and, joined by Gurwin, made negotiations to re-release the records. Although surreal, music was the only factor to bridge language and cultural barriers, and it was a moment when Gurwin realized why he does what he does.

“As humans, we’re all trying to find our own way of dealing with our own impermanence,” Gurwin said.

In a world of streaming, modern music-lovers often pluck songs from out of their context within an album.

The idea of a record as a cohesive art piece is becoming lost.

Yet some records are greater than the sum of their songs, and that is why Gurwin got into music.

His youthful obsession with the record, not individual songs, remains his passion.

Originally published on ThisWeek News on March 19, 2018. 

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