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September 9, 2009

Fast and kind of loose

Mikael Jorgensen’s Pronto more than side project

Pronto isn’t new. Mikael Jorgensen’s Other Band has written and recorded casually since 2000, when the Wilco keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist worked at Chicago’s famed Soma Studios (The Sea & Cake, Tortoise, etc.).

Jorgensen, now a Brooklynite, used empty weekends to write new material, layer it, kick the tires, leave it alone, or change it, as the case may be. “We didn’t have any way to reproduce this in a way that would be satisfying, at least back then,” he says. “I was always very excited about it.”

Pronto’s gestation benefited from Jorgensen’s discovery of a computer-programming platform called MAX/MSP Cycling ’74, used by composers and artists for creating and adding interactivity and improvisational elements to their live shows.

“It was the sort of thing that was reserved for universities, the academic world,” he says. “Not that I’m from the streets, but it’s not the thing that you’re gonna get for your 9-year-old who’s interested in computers and music.” Such tactics are found on The Cheetah EP, a collection of sonic debris created between 2000 and 2004 by Jorgensen and fellow Chicagoans Chris Girard and Greg O’Keeffe.

Pronto’s proper album, All is Golden, downplays the electronic milieu and instead finds Jorgensen in contemplative mode, jaggedly rock ’n’ roll and occasionally cheeky.

The two are different in process — The Cheetah is more like collecting sounds from the computer, and editing and curating them, while All is Golden is more working on a song,” he says.

Future plans? “What we’re heading to is a synthesis of the two.” David Cronin (Follow The Train), who’s recording a solo album, opens the Wednesday, Sept. 16, show at Zanzabar (2100 S. Preston St., 635-ZBAR). Tickets are $8 (adv.), $10 at the door.

Quicksilver messenger service

Doyle Lawson’s faithfulness to the power of four was instilled at an early age. He grew up in Kingsport, Tenn., watching his father, mother and sister devour gospel music with zeal.

Lawson soon found his admiration transform into a full-blown career, working with the likes of J.D. Crowe and the Country Gentlemen, and hosting his own annual festival in Denton, N.C. Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver appear Tuesday, Sept. 15, at the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center (937 Phillips Lane, 367-5000) as part of the National Quartet Convention. Quartet background is at www.natqc.com. The daylong event is $30.

And if you think you’re tired, draw inspiration from Broadway crooner Carol Channing, who, at every bit of 88 years old, performs at the convention Sept. 18 and at Derby Dinner Playhouse.