Low Sun Equinox is a celebration of the spiritually-rich winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. Dark has taken over the land with only a few hours of daylight and very little in the way of sunlight for days, weeks at a time. It’s a time for reflection, contemplation and the moving forward into renewal or departure. The low sun, if it emerges, casts beautifully icy hues of orange, yellow and every shade in-between against a dark gray sky and a disappearing horizon. I wrote this poem to try and capture its essence, however impossible that might be:
The emerging light falls against the dark dreams of yesterday holding to tomorrow the faith in the hope and the hope for faith as the cascading light dissipates absorbed into the darkness. The longest night upon us, we look into ourselves, conscious of breath and the power of an unfolding eternal now.
The longform ambient tracks that I create serve a couple purposes for me. For one, once these pieces are complete, I use them for my own meditation and yoga practices as well as for sleep. However, when I’m working on them I’m focused on creating the sounds of imaginary worlds. These imaginary worlds take many forms from fantastical landscapes to elusive horizons on the open sea and space journeys where the listener is invited into a world of interstellar travel and discovery. I’m inspired by fiction I’ve read, but also I just like to imagine these worlds and the feeling of what it would be like to inhabit these worlds.
For this release, Fire Mother Descends on Galant Pass, I was imagining a soundscape of a sun-worshiping society that lived in the mountains, somewhere deep in the northern hemisphere, maybe the pacific-northwest meets the Aztec culture. With the second longform work, ‘Seasonal Rains’ I was imaging seasonal rains and the cave dwellers carving pictographs into the cave walls awaiting the Fire Mother’s seasonal return.
I would be remiss if I didn’t include that I had just binge-watched Graham Hancock’s Ancient Apocalypse series when I worked on this recording. I spent time with Graham Hancock in Sedona, Arizona several years ago so I was quite familiar with his work, but the Ancient Apocalypse program brought things to life in a way that I hadn’t envisioned them in his writings or presentations.
Aurora Tidewater at Felwood Rock is a longform ambient music journey that takes the listener deep into the heart of being. There are two mixes for this recording, the Horizon Mix is more open and spacious as if you’re looking to the horizon, the other, the Ice Caves Mix, with more of a deeper and cavernous resonance, a mix that fans of Steve Roach’s longform works would likely enjoy, particularly his recording A Deeper Silence, a frequent touchstone for me.
When I created Aurora Tidewater at Felwood Rock I was trying to recreate the still space that exists around large bodies of water, majestic mountainscapes and the otherworldly experience of watching Aurora Borealis. All of these things are natural elements that so few of us get to experience in the natural world in their natural states, instead our experience is relegated to one of simply ‘watching’ on a screen. Having an experience through a screen is something that almost any of us can do now; with Aurora Tidewater at Felwood Rock – A longform ambient journey, my hope is to bring the listener closer to realizing that space as they meditate, do yoga, drift to sleep or simply listen. Each of these activities require a peaceful and relaxed state of mind; my hope is that Aurora Tidewater at Felwood Rock brings you closer to that inner calm that we all carry with us but sometimes struggle to access.
“Just F*cking Relax” – Somebody said this to me recently and it kind of hit me like a Buddhist Koan, which is a paradoxical anecdote or riddle, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment.
The Just F*cking Relax series is a companion to the Ambient Soundbath Podcast where for years, I tried to do a kinder, gentler type of new age-oriented musical thing. Imagery of sitting in yoga or meditation positions, lotus flowers, candles and all the holistic health tropes and those things are great, still bringing me a sense of serenity when I see that kind of imagery, but the reality is that life is much more abrupt, in your face and we have to take respite when and where we can; it also doesn’t hurt to add a bit of a sense of humor to the churn of daily living. You might not be able to afford a trip to Esalen or the Omega Institute to center yourself, but you can put music on, take a few breaths in your car, on the subway or in a booth at Applebee’s and get in touch with yourself. In all instances, there needs to be time for YOU. Self-actualization shouldn’t require a plane trip to an exotic retreat and these are some of the many reasons that I created the Just F*cking Relax series.
Anyway, it’s a bit irreverent, but it’s also just that simple, isn’t it: Just F*cking Relax!
Here’s a listing of all the tracks for the first season of Just F*cking Relax:
I hope you’re doing well. These are trying times to be sure and I don’t know where I’d be without music as an escape.
I’ve got a couple notes that may be of interest here.
So, first things first, I’m going to be doing my best to get off Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and instead relying on Bandcamp and my mailing list here – http://eepurl.com/b3DXL1, so please share with anybody and everybody you think might be interested in my music.
DO YOU WANT FREE MUSIC? Follow me on Bandcamp or join my mailing list, as I’m frequently giving Bandcamp codes to fans and email subscribers: Bandcamp and/or Mailing list signup: http://eepurl.com/b3DXL1
New project Alert – Clay Wires – LIVE MUSIC For those in or around Traverse City, Michigan, Saturday, July 9th I’ll be performing at the Workshop Brewery in downtown TC from 8-10pm with an amazing four piece group, Clay Wires, where we’ll be doing a couple hours of improvised ambient krautrock… A little Neu, a little Ashra, a little Tangerine Dream and a lot of space. Anything can happen and probably will. It’s the last day of the National Cherry Festival… Minds will be blown and tourists will be confounded by the sounds entering their ear holes. More info here: traversecityworkshop.com/events/ – If you see this and come out to the show, say hello; I’d love to chat.
Just F*cking Relax – Longform Ambient Series Exclusively Bandcamp and only 2 Bucks “Just F*cking Relax” – Somebody said this to me recently and it kind of hit me like a Buddhist Koan, which is a paradoxical anecdote or riddle, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment. Anyway, a bit irreverent, but I was like, ‘it’s kind of that simple isn’t it?’ So, yeah, just f*cking relax! There are nearly eight, so far. Listen here: https://mattborghi.bandcamp.com/
This is the first in, what I hope, is a long and fruitful relationship with Valley View Records and Matthew Tondut. Matthew did an amazing job shepherding this release, sequencing and generally presenting a vision for the work. Benjamin Lincoln at Middle Mastering really equalized the sounds and made the collection sound great. And Clayton Popa’s excellent artwork brought the whole thing together, adding a visual that really emphasized The Expanse, Star Trek and 2001: A Space Odyssey state of mind I was in when I created Navi Motion.
Ambient Guitar – Barefoot Summer is a seasonally-inspired ambient guitar track that I created when I was longing for summer and walking along the beaches of northern Michigan during the 2020 Pandemic. The hot sun, the warm sand and the cool refresh of Lake Michigan. This video was shot at Sleep Bear Dunes National Lake shore.
Huronic Minor was originally released in 2001. The original release was completely mono, while the source recordings were all stereo, mostly because I didn’t know what I was doing. Over the last 20 years, however, I’ve spent a lot of time perfecting my sound and my audio skills and I feel like the 20th Anniversary Remaster brings out the drones and tones of Huronic Minor in all their subtle nuance and sonic brilliance. If you’re familiar with the original Huronic Minor, you will hear things in this new version that you never could have heard before, I know that was the case even for me.
Recently, I found myself listening to Huronic Minor. This is by far my most “popular” recording. It’s had millions of streams and before I went exclusively digital, I had sold several thousand CDs. Huronic was released completely mono, mostly because I had no idea what I was doing, whereas the source material was all stereo. I was after the sound of the drones and their creation, something that was totally new to me. I did four complete iterations of Huronic Minor, trying to get those drones just right, for what I had in mind, sonically. After several months, I achieved it, but totally overlooked the idea that the final master recording was completely mono. Nobody corrected me, initially, and people seemed to really like it. I say initially, because I remember a conversation a year or two later, with Dino Pacifici, where he kind of mused “Why did you record it in mono?”. Good question. I’d never really thought about that.
Recently, though, as I listened back, I was somewhat embarrassed. This is not uncommon for artists when they review to their earlier work, but the really disappointing thing as I listened with fresh ears, having not listened to it in probably, well, 20ish years, was that there was so much brilliance and sonic nuance lost in the mono recording. As somebody who has spent years cultivating their approach, vision and process, I listened to this and thought, I can bring those things out with my current audio workflow.
As I became a better music producer, refining my ear to match my audio engineering and production abilities, my expectations for sonic experience have changed. When I did Huronic Minor, originally, I was interested in the content not the fidelity or perhaps I enjoyed the noise-oriented grit of the soundscapes, as they seemed quintessentially, sonically, Detroit – A goal of mine for a very long time. Now, though, I want the balance of content and fidelity, so with that in mind I have decided to revisit this collection and see what I can do with the mixes and the mastering of these recordings to bring out the sonic nuance of this recording.
This is a work-in-progress, but initial run-throughs have been very good and I anticipate a release of this new collection of remastered tracks in the months to come.