Longtime Wilco keyboardist Mikael Jorgensenhas premiered a newly produced cover Spaceman 3's "Ode To Street Hassle," with the help of label-mate Austin Donohue of Graph Rabbit onAmerican Songwriter. American Songwriter said the track "brings the production techniques of today and the sounds of yesterday into perfect unison." The cover is the first of many one-on-one collaborations that Jorgensen is striking up these days.
Butterscotch Records will release another collaborative album, Mikael Jorgensen & Greg O'Keeffe,on October 15. Jorgensen spearheaded production of the album - one of the most inventive electronic records of recent memory - along with the help of producer/engineer and Butterscotch label headAllen Farmelo (The Cinematic Orchestra, Talk Normal).
The album release date has moved as a result of a freshly-inked deal between Butterscotch Records and Redeye Distribution.
The album Mikael Jorgensen & Greg O'Keeffe began in 2008 when Jorgensen and long time collaborator Greg O'Keeffe started working on music that would eventually become their first album together, released under the band name Pronto. After that album Jorgensen felt the pair still had music to make together. Working around Jorgensen's Wilco touring schedule, he and O'Keeffe recorded a new batch of songs in 2010 with Aaron Nevezie and John Davis at Brooklyn's Bunker Studios. Listening back to the tracks, Jorgensen found them impressive and the songs satisfying, but a creative restlessness was stirring in Jorgensen and he knew the record was going to change. "I realized that this wasn't a problem as much as it was an opportunity to completely reevaluate what I had started."
Jorgensen found more inspiration as he fired up his impressive collection of analog synthesizers. He began to augment the live studio tracks with synth overdubs, and then he began to replace guitars, bass and eventually vocals with synths of all kinds. It wasn't long before he said, "To hell with it, I'm going to replace every sound on this song with a synthesizer except the drums."
By the time he was done, all the songs had been transformed from guitar-based rock (what one might expect from a member of Wilco) into a captivating electronic album that transcends the "electro" clichés that abound in today's electronic music.
Jorgensen's exposure to music began when his father Joe, an accomplished New York City recording engineer with credits including "The Theme from Taxi" to Dizzy Gillespie and Bob James, began bringing his son to work at age seven. From there, Mikael never quite left the recording studio. Working at John McEntire's SOMA Studios in Chicago, Jorgensen was around for the mixing of Wilco's now classic album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Jeff Tweedy then turned to Jorgensen to engineer Wilco's A Ghost is Born and Jorgensen was eventually brought on full time as a keyboardist. It's hard to overestimate the importance of so many hours spent in studios over a lifetime in making this new album, one that can feel so familiar and so fresh at the same time. Mikael Jorgensen & Greg O'Keeffe does just that.
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.