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Known alternately as Papa M, Aerial M, M Is the Thirteenth Letter, and simply M, David Pajo has woven in and out of some of the most creative bands in the Midwest while working on his own innovative solo/side projects. Born in Texas in 1968 to Fernando "Nanding" Pajo and Darlene Feldbusch, he was raised in Louisville, KY, which is still his base of operations. He was a founding member of Slint, the Louisville-based slowcore band that wowed critics from 1987 to 1991. After they broke up, he played with a variety of bands, including the Palace Brothers, Stereolab, the For Carnation, King Kong, and Royal Trux. He was also a full-time member of Tortoise until 1998, cutting back his involvement with them to work on the M projects.
The common thread between all of the M projects was Pajo's expressive, nearly eerie guitar playing. Backed at times by gentle, wave-like rhythms and the hum of synths and keyboards, the music had a mesmerizing quality to it, while conveying images of great expanses of space. Notable projects include a split single with Laetitia Sadier under the name M Is the Thirteenth Letter (on Palace Records in 1995) and three full-length albums on the Drag City label: the self-titled Aerial M, released in 1997, Post Global Music, released in 1999 as Aerial M, and Live from a Shark's Cage, the first album released under the Papa M name, in 1999. Sings followed two years later. Papa M released a string of singles in the 2000s as well as the full-lengths Whatever, Mortal (2001) and Hole of Burning Alms (2004). He switched to the Pajo moniker for 2005's self-titled album and the following year's 1968.