When not playing in his full-time gig with Wilco, New Jersey native-via-Chicagoan-via-Brooklynite Mikael Jorgensen crafts pitch-perfect pop songs under the moniker of Pronto.
The full story begins all the way back in 1995, the golden age of indie-rock, when Jorgensen was growing weary of the limitations of pop music. Fueled by healthy amounts of art school cynicism and the post-adolescent desire to create something unique, Movere Workshop was formed in the basement of a house in Leonardo, New Jersey.
Greg O'Keeffe showed up to play for the first time, confronted by microphones and now-outdated digital audio recording equipment. Impressed by the moxie of these muppety oddballs, he continued to play in the group. At a rehearsal he quipped, "I'm so psyched about this," and promptly smashed his tourist-grade kalimba on the pine timber floor of the loft / rehearsal space. The seed had been planted.
In the summer of 1998 Mikael moved to Chicago and helped construct SOMA Electronic Music Studios (John McEntire, Tortoise), where he was to be employed for several years following. In 2000, Jorgensen and fellow Chicagoan Chris Girard were working on music together. They summoned Mr. O'Keeffe to Chicago to apply his rhythmic sensibilities to these songs, and thereby formed the earliest incarnation of Pronto.
Flash forward to Winter of 2006, where once again O'Keeffe appears and extricates himself to the confines of a Chicago loft where he, Jorgensen, and musicians Matt Lux, (Isotope 217, Iron & Wine), Jim Becker (Califone) and Mr. Russ Arbuthnot (an alumnus of Steve Albini's Electrical Audio studios) recorded the album, All Is Golden.
In the spring of 2006, Jorgensen moves to Brooklyn, NY.
It is here that the current state of Pronto begins to form. With a rotating lineup surrounding the mainstays of Jorgensen and O'Keeffe, friends such as Stuart Bogie (Antibalas), Kurt Uenala, Larry Brown and others join the fray at various points in time.
And while duties in the Wilco enterprise accelerated throughout 2007, Pronto was still able to coalesce and produce what now stands as their Contraphonic debut, All Is Golden. All Is Golden is a 70's-inspired tome that serves as a record of action. It is the sound of waking up and moving on, cross-country trips to California, black days and blue nights giving way to better times and warmer promises. It's AM-Radio songsmith filtered through the speakers of a modern-day prism.
Pronto now consists of Mikael Jorgensen, Greg O'Keeffe, Erik Paparazzi (Cat Power), and Tunde Oyewole (Childballads). When their respective musical duties don't take them elsewhere, Pronto plans to play in support of All Is Golden throughout 2009.
Photo © 2008 Andre Costantini
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