Ambient Guitar is Matt Borghi’s first solo recording capturing the style of performance that he’s usually only done with saxophonist, Michael Teager, as part of their Borghi | Teager duo. With Ambient Guitar, Matt Borghi’s influences are on full display, from a resonant acknowledgement of Brian Eno, in the manner of production and texture to melodic elements that fuse in Harold Budd, Robert Fripp and the late Jerry Garcia that’s particularly reminiscent of his work on the Zabriskie Point soundtrack.
Matt Borghi’s Ambient Guitar is a texturally rich, unassuming and restrained recording that highlights Matt Borghi at his musical best.
Ambient Guitar is available in a variety of formats at the links below, including:
I’ll dispense with the ‘I haven’t written anything here in a while’ preface and get right to the meat of it. Michael Teager and myself are preparing to go into the studio and work on our next Borghi-Teager studio album. This time I don’t have much in the way of ideas and I’ve been spending my time practicing improvising.
Key to my improvisational work is Ableton Live, and after some reviews of Shades of Bending Light dismissed the idea that it was, in fact, wholly improvised, I’ve decided to document, via screencasts, my practice and rehearsal sessions for our next studio album, blemishes, wrong notes, warts and all, so that folks can go behind the curtain and get a conceptual understanding of the craft of our brand of improvised ambient soundscapes.
Additionally, much of the music is pretty good. I’ve surprised myself at times, which is the best part about improvisation… there are about five videos up at the time of this writing, and the music is really quite good. Sometimes, it stalls, and that would be edited out of any recording session in the post-production cull, but here there’s no post-production, I record live, render/upload it out of Camtasia and call it a wrap. So that’s it. That’s what I’m doing.
Also, maybe, some folks might be interested to see what I’m doing in Ableton Live. I haven’t used another piece of software for music since 2002. It’s all I use. All of my effects are standard, out of the Ableton box, and I find that it does everything and more that I can dream of, including things I never thought that I wanted it to do. For a while, many folks believed that Ableton Live was really just for electronic and EDM, but there are many contemporary composers out there proving that wrong and I hope that my vids do just that.
I’ve started this record dozens of times and each time I stalled, each time it fell to the wayside and didn’t go any further. There have been so many start/stops that I assumed this record would never get made. An attempt at this record was created under my own name from 2006, called Olagra… Originally, Olagra was an idea created in quiet room, then it was a band and then a record that had some allusion to the original ideas and some fragments of the band; but those were little more than sketches. After that Olagra was little more than a haunting sentiment floating in the aether nagging me, constantly reminding me of what could have been, maybe what should have been, but certainly, categorically what wasn’t… that is until it was: Olagra: Winter Eyes.
Winter Eyes, which I created under the Olagra pseudonym is the definitive recording of songs that I was writing in 2004 and 2005, and beyond with all of the psych folk, AM 70s light rock and mellow gold that I could mine. It, simultaneously, contains allusions to all these things, while being none of those things. I can find no category to put it in. It just is. I call it ‘psych folk’ as good of a label as any I can find, as it’s primarily acoustic and folky, but it’s also rich, sonically, as I chose not to pursue mutually exclusive paths of acoustic conservatism or strict synthesized sonics; instead, I’ve opted to pursue both, equally, simultaneously.
That period of the mid-aughts was special for me, because after a hiatus of more than ten years focusing on sound, rather than songs, I was quite compelled to go back to songwriting, which was where I started, as a wee pup, to begin with. Once I started getting going with the songs I found that they were too personal to commodify and bring to life as a “project” or a published recording. I couldn’t separate myself from them enough to do that with the work. Even now, I struggle with this. I think that’s why there were so many false starts. Eventually, I made peace with the “songs” as a creative path and through that catharsis realized that I was obligated to share this music out, as I had first envisioned it, but wasn’t quite able to capture, so many years before. I’ve done that now.
As I write this, I’d like to sit here and tell you that Olagra is my new direction. It may well be, or at least the songs may be, and I’ve been considering retiring my given name from my creative work and only working under pseudonyms for a long time, save maybe my work with Michael, so this may be the beginning of that. I have bunches of songs, and my ability to craft them has only increased, starting with this, those that made it to Winter Eyes. I don’t know. I know that I have another batch of songs I’ve been working on atop my writing desk and they’re indicative of the development of the craft, and I’ve always enjoyed watching an artist grow, improve and mature, so those will likely get out there at some point, but that’s a different discussion for a different time. For now, Winter Eyes, is one of the works that I’m most proud of, right up there with Convocation, and my work with Michael (Teager) which has been a real creative high-water mark for me. In any case, I hope you spend some time with the music. It’s different than past work of mine, but it’s as much “me” as anything I’ve ever done. I hope you enjoy what you hear.
Hey there. About ten years ago I released a recording called All Points North under the Manitou pseudonym. It was my second letterpress-printed CD edition and a love letter to the city of Detroit, my home, for all intents and purposes. It was impressionistic with reflections on time and experience, but also not, a “Matt Borghi” record… I went into kind of a different process and different state of mind to make that record.
Ten years on, over the summer of 2015, I decided to visit that mindspace again and created a new Manitou record, possibly the last, this is a historical reflection on the city of Detroit, the city of my family, the city of my ancestry. For me, there’s little reflection on or identification with the northern Italy of my great grandparents and my family name, nor is there much reflection on my Scotch-Irish Appalachian roots, instead, I’m a Detroiter, quintessentially, of mixed ethnic origin, steeped in many cultures and many experiences with an overtone of post-industrial morose and a hopeful optimism for tomorrow’s future. So, this is a long-winded way to say that the latest Manitou record is out. All of the tracks are named after things in 19th and early 20th century Detroit, the Detroit that I heard stories about on the knees of grandparents and looked at longingly in books when we were the “Paris of the Midwest”. That’s it. There’s not much more for me to say. I hope you enjoy the recording and enjoy the experience.
Shades of Bending Light is Matt Borghi & Michael Teager‘s second studio recording and the follow-up to 2013’s critically acclaimed Convocation. Recorded in one take without overdubs, Shades… shows the synthesized guitar and saxophone duo venturing deeper into their “jambient” style which brings together improvised ambient soundscapes from musical ideas created on the spot. Building upon the momentum and trajectory of Convocation and Awaken…, this album features more involved melodic and rhythmic interplay between Borghi & Teager. Fans of Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra, Vangellis’s Blade Runner soundtrack, Jeff Beck’s Blow by Blow, and Tortoise will immediately recognize these influences on Shades of Bending Light.
“Combining the intellectual heft of Jazz and Ambient Music with the appeal of New Age/Contemporary Instrumental Borghi & Teager highlight a range of different tonal modes and musical moods… Their genre strives to lift our inner lives, and [they] are right up there among the best.” – From Chuck van Zyl at Star’s End, full article here.