The Cheetah is a meticulously crafted album of brave, atmospheric instrumental music from Mikael Jorgensen and collaborators Chris Girard and Greg O’Keeffe, now newly reissued on Butterscotch Records.
Jorgensen recorded these twelve songs between 2001 and 2003 at SOMA Electronic Music Studios in Chicago, the studio owned by John McEntire of Tortoise where Jorgensen worked when he first hooked up with Wilco. Gears soon shifted for Jorgensen as he went on to record and then join Wilco, and The Cheetah was set aside for some time before its first release in 2009.
Like many of the artists recording at SOMA at that time (Stereolab, Tortoise, Jim O’Rourke and more), Jorgensen and his team for The Cheetah were operating on assumptions far ahead of the curve as they fluidly combined sounds and production techniques as disparate as jazz, Krautrock, pop, ambient and probably about five different subtypes of electronic music. These brave combinations and the three-dimensional fidelity of The Cheetah are testament to the meticulous craft happening at SOMA at that time, as well as to what a deft engineer and producer Jorgensen truly is.
The Cheetah is built with studio tools that were already interestingly anachronistic in 2002, Jorgensen employed Cycling 74’s MAX/MSP software, a vast array of vintage & contemporary modular synths, Farfisa organ, Hohner Pianet, cornet, acoustic bass, electric guitar, live drums, vibraphone, stylophone and more into a seamless marriage of acoustic and electronic instruments that holds together – against all odds – across the varied twelve tracks.
We find glitchy beats hovering over meditative sequences that melt into laid back acoustic grooves, the audible sound of fingers on acoustic bass strings rubbing gently against warm synth pads, driving minimalist beats pulsing behind triumphant synth melodies, muted horn arrangements floating over moaning electronics, a full band effortlessly dissolving into glitchy synths assailed from the side by peals of playful vibraphone. With so much to discover, The Cheetah has an enduring freshness that invites us into further discovery, a point Jorgensen has proven to himself as he continues to rework these same tracks in his current live show.
Newly remastered by label head Allen Farmelo, we are proud to re-release this daring and sophisticated album, The Cheetah.
Mikael Jorgensen – Keyboards, Synthesizers, Laptop, Engineering
Chris Girard – Electric Guitar, Synthesizers, Laptop
Greg O’Keeffe – Drums, percussion
Noel Kupersmith – Acoustic Bass
Rob Mazurek – Cornet, Pianet
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