David Pajo isn’t exactly an effusive personality. As a guitarist for Louisville indie-rock legends Slint and current Chicago underground stars Tortoise he’s often willingly retreated into the background, and it’s been tough to pinpoint just what he was contributing. The debut album of his solo project, Aerial M (on Drag City), clears things up considerably. As in Slint, Pajo’s thorough investigation of pin-drop dynamics and hypnotic repetition takes place within the context of fairly standard rock structures. And the patient, almost lulling manner in which the album’s seven instrumentals develop is akin to his work with Tortoise–though the swirling backward-tape sounds of “Compassion for M” are as close as he gets to that band’s heavy studio manipulation. By and large Aerial M is guitar, bass, and drums, as will be the Louisville-based quartet Pajo performs with at Lounge Ax. Australian guitarist Mick Turner has also been a quiet but important presence in a number of superb bands, including the Moodists and Venom P. Stinger. While the music on his solo debut Tren Phantasma (also on Drag City) most closely resembles that of his current band, the Dirty Three, in which his calm accompaniment provides the perfect foil for violinist Warren Ellis’s turbulent sawing, it reveals other aspects of Turner’s playing as well. Through a variety of song fragments and more developed pieces, he pushes the bleak emotionalism of the blues and the rustic beauty of country into experimental territory. Turner (who lives in Chicago at the moment) will be joined by Dirty Three drummer Jim White, with David Grubbs on harmonium. Also on the bill is former Dolomite drummer Rian Murphy’s occasional band Chestnut Station–this time featuring Eleventh Dream Day’s Rick Rizzo and MOTO’s Paul Caporino–and Directions, the current project of Bundy Brown, whom Pajo replaced in Tortoise. Thursday, November 6, 9 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 773-525-6620. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Aerial M photo by Edie Vee/ Mick Turner photo by Thomas Rabish-Bilderberg Co.