I made this track today and it seems quite relaxing
There will be coffee, cakes and many other guests floating in and out of the mix starting at 4PM Central European Time, 10AM Eastern Time, and a very early 7AM for those on the West Coast:
In the meantime, watch our hotelroomjam from St. Louis:
Tune in to http://www.ustream.tv/channel/oscillator-fumes if the embed above is funky.
HERE IS THE RECORDING OF THE SHOW!! ZOMG!!!!1!!!
Travis and I will be squeebling the bloop zerbnt again, this time at the esteemed Zebulon Cafe Concert in Williamsburg. Come out for electronic, analogggy fun times!
September 28, 2011 by Janice Brown
FORT GREENE, BROOKLYN: It was that bizarre week in August – somewhere between the earthquake and the hurricane – when we swung by The Farm, engineer/producer Allen Farmelo’s personal studio where he was deep into an album mix with experimental pop band, Pronto.
Though it may play side-project to frontman Mikael Jorgensen’s main gig as keyboardist in Wilco [see BTR: Wilco The Whole Love], Pronto hardly suffers from lack of attention. Lack of consistent, uninterrupted attention…perhaps. But this summer, Jorgensen and longtime collaborator/drummer Greg O’Keefe took big steps towards finalizing their long-labored-over album, handing folders of Pro Tools session files over to Farmelo, and letting him have at it.
Pronto’s Mikael Jorgensen and Greg O’Keefe with Allen Farmelo in Fort Greene. Photo by Shelley Wollert.
“I feel like we’re putting the track down in front of the train,” said Jorgensen. “Like we’re not quite ready for everything to be mixed, and it’s kind of nice in a way to have that pressure. We have to make things happen, we have to make decisions.”
Garnering positive buzz off their recent appearance at the Wilco-curated Solid Sound Festival at Mass MOCA, Pronto is eager to share their new work, the tentatively-titled Completed Porcupine.
A sonic departure from the group’s ’06 debut, All Is Golden, Pronto’s new material began in drum-n-synths jams captured at The Pronto Labs, then took shape as folk-rock numbers tracked as a trio at The Bunker, before landing somewhere else entirely. Drawing on the initial performances and melodic themes in his batch of songs, Jorgensen re-worked the album as an electronic pop record inspired by his ARP 2600, his own geometric, ‘everything-in-its-place’ nature and a total plunge into the unknown.
“I don’t know what this is,” he noted during our listening session at The Farm. “It’s not synth-rock, or dance music exactly… it’s songwriting-meets-synthesizers – electronic but almost like a response to a Trent Reznor sound: very positive and major chord oriented. But I feel confident about it, and that’s a really good place to be. Who doesn’t love a major third? Or, even worse, a major ninth? (laughs)”
As an engineer himself, honing his skills at SOMA Studios in Chicago (John McEntire, Tortoise), Jorgensen worked the album as much as he could between Wilco tours, meticulously recording and re-recording with O’Keefe, tweaking and re-tweaking. And then, meeting Farmelo and reading about his new custom API console, Jorgensen made a date to visit The Farm, conveniently just a few blocks from his place in Fort Greene.
“I thought it was awesome,” says Jorgensen of the console. “It seemed like a beacon – [in that] it’s not commercially available, and it’s not a home-brew.” Here O’Keefe chimes in, “It’s that whole maker mentality, which is about really learning how to properly do something because that’s the way it should be done. That’s something we strive for in our music.”
For Farmelo (Cinematic Orchestra, The Loom), the console stands as an expression of his sensibilities, so in that sense, this was a perfect connection – transmission received. Plus, he loved the music, felt the shared sensibilities and sonic aesthetic, and is also – in practice – meticulous, which would come in handy. Mixing the Pronto record, Farmelo says, has been a challenge and a delight.
“Some of the material has been is a real puzzle, and the bar is really high,” Farmelo commented, about half-way through the album. “Mikael’s got so much experience and know-how that he’s taken the in-the-box mixes really far. But these are about as good as in-the-box mixes are going to get.
“It has to sound amazing and how to get that to happen is not always clear. So, I’ve also had my moments of spending hours trying 20 things that just did not do it. And then hitting these points of breakthrough, where I’m jumping out of bed at 4AM, mixing with the roosters. Something about this project forces you beyond what you know to a place where you really just have no idea, and then something will occur to you – something I haven’t tried in 10 years or something I’ve only heard about. And that may be just the thing.”
Look out for a more in-depth feature on the making of this record – how Allen brought depth and dimension to Jorgensen’s mixes through the highly creative application of his API Console and Studer Tape Machine – later this year. And in the meantime, head on over to the Prontosphere, and listen to a track from the forthcoming LP below…
Nathaniel Murphy, Travis Thatcher and I recorded and webcast a synth jam from my hotel room in St. Louis, MO on Oct 3rd, 2011. Here it is:
It’s the end of summer here in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, NY. The cicadas are buzzing their late-summer jams along with the bass cars, ambulances and garbage trucks that careen down DeKalb Avenue towards Flatbush. It seems a fitting moment to put the final touches on the music Greg and I have been working on for the past year and a half, with my friend and mixer Allen Farmelo at his studio called The Farm.
We recorded basic tracks in March of 2010 with Greg on drums and Adam Chilenski on electric and upright bass, at The Bunker Studio with John Davis and Aaron Nevezie engineering. Our 14 songs were expertly recorded and performed very well. After reviewing the songs and beginning to work on them at the old Pronto-Labs in RAMBO, it became evident that these songs, however great sounding and well played, just were not doing it for me. There are hundreds of bands recording songs like these, with arrangements like these, with similar instrumentation, and perhaps doing it a bit better than I am able. There must be another way to make something interesting and meaningful here.
The answer was sitting on a stand in my studio – staring me in the face, looking almost annoyed that it took so long to figure this all out: My ARP 2600. It had recently been serviced, comprehensively tricked out and upgraded in all the right places by Phil Cirocco. At this moment, I took stock of all the cool keyboards and noisemakers I’ve accumulated over the past 20 years and BANG: We will make a record utilizing all manner of music technology from the early 70′s through modern times. As Vince Noir would say: GENIUS!!
Now came the labor intensive task of taking each song apart, usually stripping them down to just the drum take and rebuilding them all, by hand (kinda) with these newly (re)discovered tools. Everything was on the chopping block and any idea, no matter how bizarre or embarrassing, was considered and given “equal time.” In fits and starts over the last 18 months, Greg & I toiled over this material, trying hundreds of ideas & sounds out along the way. We gathered a lot of sap to make this maple syrup.
Now, after working, tweaking, shifting, sifting, moving, slathering, editing, rerecording, rererecording, abandoning, and rediscovering it along the way, it’s an unfamiliar feeling to work on these songs only one more time – and then they’ll be done. I’m a bit sad to let this exhilarating and equally excruciating process go, but we must move onward and upward…
I can’t wait to get this sucker out.
More to come.
Balboa: Mikael Jorgensen & Travis Thatcher technology improv duo 8/14 Tommy’s Tavern Greenpoint, Brooklyn0
“In the indoor stage, Wilco keyboard maestro Mikael Jorgensen’s group Pronto was kicking off their set. Beginning with a solo slice of electronic pop, before bringing on the rest of the band, Jorgensen’s somber, processed vocals, evoked a wistful future age in which all ballads are sung through a vocoder. With the full band on stage the group worked through recurring technical difficulties and performed a set of competent, Kraftwerk-inspired melancholy synth pop. Of all the Wilco side projects showcased on Sunday, Jorgensen’s was the least predictable and, in some ways, most rewarding.” Max Burke
Read the full article here: http://www.prefixmag.com/features/darin-gray-glenn-kotche-jc-brooks-levon-helm-nels-cline-pronto-the-autumn-defense-thurston-moore-wilco/solid-sound-festival-day-3-recappics/53859/
Please enjoy our new sound:
Listen to it while walking in the snow, and then feel really awesome. [download link]
Happy 2011 to you people! Here’s our version of “Auld Lang Syne.” You can download it if you’d like too.
With a bit of sadness, but mostly excited liberation, we packed up the ProntoLabs this week and placed it in storage for a few month hiatus. The chilly, crappy, sweaty, noisy, complainy confines of our facility on Prince Street in Brooklyn, finally became too much to bear. A new studio situation is developing and I’ll have more to say on that when there’s more to say. In the meantime, here are a pair of videos from the last couple of days.
Timelapse of packing up:
The End Of Prince Street 2010:
Happy New Year!
Happy Holidays everyone!
We were invited to cover a Frank Sinatra song for AJ Lambert’s Sirius Radio show “Siriusly Sinatra: 3rd Generation,” and chose the defiant classic “That’s Life.” With her kind permission and in the spirit of giving, we offer it as a free download. We hope you enjoy this “vocoder” version of the famous Dean Kay & Kelly Gordon song.
Mikael Jorgensen – Vocoder
Greg O’Keeffe – Drums
Adam Chilenski – Bass
Jared Samuel – Keyboards
See you in 2011!
Pronto – Dept. Of Holiday Mirth & Well-Being
“Esther Cheung & David Jimison - Shrine of Native Rites for the Electric Winter
Esther Cheung & David Jimison use technology in rituals of psychosomatic magick. The Shrine is a sacred space of the electro native. Projected symbols of a computational astrology on synthetic hides enclose an ambient electro tea ceremony. “
Here is “Opening C,” which you will faintly remember from the opening sequence of the 1997 independent film “A Better Place.“ I helped out and wrote some music for ‘em in the summer of 1996. Somehow this number barged onto the Movere Workshop 12″ “Western Homelette,” and is a celebration of the Crumar DS-2′s sample and holdy glory:
Why not get this on vinyl at Odessa Records?
When your adolescent days are spent…
- Watching Mr. Wizards World, 3-2-1 Contact and Miami Vice
- Breaking bottles down at “The Rocks”
- Trekking along the harbor-side to retrieve a gallon of the now undrinkable water that flowed from Henry Hudson Springs
- Learning about FM Synthesis techniques and the nuance of MIDI sequencing
- Listening intently to tales of drug-related derring-do by your kitchen-mates in Home Economics class
…you try and funnel it into your art somehow. Here’s how I dealt with these soci-cultural complexities in 1989:
We’ve got some t-shirt designs to show you as well as physical CDs of “All Is Golden.” The “hard-goods” are available through the Pronto section of the Wilco store, and the downloadables are through iTunes. Show your dorky disdain for the status quo by wearing a Pronto t-shirt to any of the upcoming family holidays meals.
All Is Golden $9.99 at iTunes
The Cheetah $9.99 at iTunes
|Click on a T-Shirt or CD to go to the Pronto section of the Wilco Store!|
|Nerd Skull $22||Norwegian Sweater $22|
|All Is Golden CD $10.99|
Here’s a handful of videos I’ve made using my EMS Synthi synthesizer. I thought it would be an interesting limitation to only record about 60 seconds of a texture, perhaps wiggle some knobs, move on to another and then repeat the process. I plugged it straight into my laptop, so there’s no external signal processing going on. Everything you hear is being generated by this wonderful beast.
On a Sunday evening in November, we of Pronto were interrupted, nay, visited by the Jazz Flute Prophet.
Our evening had consisted of some exploratory, slightly self-indulgent jamming. At the conclusion of one of these jams we heard some knocking at our door – a rather rare occurrence. In walks a somewhat heavy, 65 year old, white haired, goateed man in a black pullover fleece, pleated blue dockers and some shiny loafers – HOLDING A FLUTE WITH AN LED CLIP LIGHT TAPED TO IT.
He walks in and asks if we’d heard him jamming along in the hallway. Of course we didn’t hear him, as he was jamming along with us on the other side of the door to our studio, i.e. not inside our studio.
The first 2 minutes weren’t recorded, but by the grace of Jared Samuel (who put the computer *back* in record once it was clear we had a situation on our hands), we have nearly the entire encounter and subsequent “jam session” preserved for posterity.
One of the visuals that is hard to make out from the recording is his one handed playing technique. The other hand is holding a lighter close to his mouth which he lights, and blows out a couple of times before making the flame “dance.”
I think it would have been less awesome if he came in and started really shredding – redefining jazz flute and laying to waste our own musical abilities. I don’t know if he ever figured out what key we were in, or if keys even exist. His ambitious, inspired amateurism is nothing short of miraculous. Like a specter, he disappeared as quickly, and mysteriously as he appeared (to get to the gig at the Turkish Club on time…)
In the fall of 2009, Chris Girard, Tunde Oyewole, Greg O’Keeffe & I recorded some songs for the wonderful people at Daytrotter. You can take a listen here.
Here’s a link to a bittorrent of the show we played at Solid Sound Festival earlier this month:
You’ll need something like utorrent to git ‘er.
Thanks to everyone who made the trek up to North Adams & Mass MoCA for the Solid Sound Festival this past weekend. It’s safe to say that practically every expectation was exceeded.
It’s possible that I met everyone at the festival while walking around, trying to take in as much music, art & comedy as possible. I sure hope we can do it again next year. Cross yr fingers.
It has been a remarkable week of preparations for our show at the Solid Sound Festival. We’ve been rehearsing in the sweating concrete of the Pronto studio in the hazy Brooklyn summer, fueled by Chonchos Tacos from The Loading Dock, sparkling wines from Adam, DVDs from Jared, and gourmet hot dogs from Greg.
It’s going to be a very keyboard heavy set, and I couldn’t be more pleased. We’re looking forward to presenting this new iteration of the band this weekend.
Pronto at Solid Sound will be:
Mikael Jorgensen – Keyboards, Laptop, Guitar & Vocals
Greg O’Keeffe – Drums
Adam Chilenski – Bass
Jared Samuel – Keyboards
- Mavis Staples
- Nels Cline
- Autumn Defense
- On Fillmore
- Avi Buffalo
- The Books
- Deep Blue Organ Trio
- Sir Richard Bishop
- Mountain Man
- Outrageous Cherry
- Jeff Tweedy solo
- Numero Group DJs
- A comedy cabaret including Todd Barry, Kristen Schaal, Hannibal Buress, and John Mulaney
- A Video installation by Cassandra C. Jones
- Plus a steaming piles of amazingness