Matt Borghi & Michael Teager‘s new live album Awaken the Electric Air: Live from Star’s End, October 20, 2013 is now available.
The music on this CD comprises live renditions of several selections from Convocation, as well as new compositions that include fresh performances by Teager on flute. Recoreded live at Philadelphia’s WXPN in the World Café Live studio and housed in packaging that’s comprised of original photography by Star’s End host and veteran electronic musician Chuck van Zyl. Our brief time in Philly was magical and welcoming; it’s satisfying that we were able to truly represent these special moments musically, and with the help of Echoes producer Jeff Towne the recordings are superb.
We’re proud of this performance and happy to make this available to the public. The album is available for purchase digitally via iTunes, Amazon, and eMusic, or physically via Kunaki or at live performances. You can hear an excerpt of the recording below.
With everything that’s been going on with the musical endeavors of Michael Teager and myself I haven’t focused much on my solo work, but back in August I signed a deal with the Swedish label Sub.Stream and their subsidiary Mareld to release a new solo recording called After Otherwise.
After Otherwise is a very personal musical journey. It’s not the ambient music you might be used to from me, but rather it’s a downtempo release with songs, spoken poetry, vocals, something I haven’t done since Olagra, but more than it being a musical journey, it was a personal journey for me. This recording represents that the absolute pinnacle of my production and musical abilities. There are parts that are reminiscent of Pat Metheny’s Are You Going With Me, my delta blues influences crept in as I approached Own Way, and there’s also just a lot of straight-up funk that has a sort of Fila Brazillia vibe.
With all of the ambient-centric work that I’ve been doing with Teager and the prepping of the Star’s End release it was easy to loose track of the 4+ years I put into After Otherwise. I started and stopped After Otherwise at least a dozen times. Sometimes, I would just get to frustrating creative impasse and felt, because this work was so different than all of my other work, it was a waste of time. As an artist, constantly pushing the creative envelope and creative growth, it can be challenging. It can be doubly challenging when you feel like you need to pursue something, but there’s no precedent for the work that you’re trying to pursue. As Joseph Campbell says, “We create our precedents for our lives…” and in so doing, sometimes, you have to just jump in and keep at it.
With all of that said, I can say that when working on the recording, I was never anything totally inspired, as it was a project that refused to die. I kept getting sucked in and immersed in the project. I think that I probably recorded several dozen tracks, finally distilling it down to thirteen. This was also a great chance to record Michael Teager playing sax on a variety of tunes in less of ambient context, some of which you can hear in The Raven below.
I created all of the videos below to highlight the music, but also because I like editing video and putting it to music. Enjoy.
That’s right our Living Room Concert is being broadcast on Echoes tonight, where we performed several selections from Convocation – Read John Diliberto’s excellent post about our performance and our work here… Truly an honor to have John write up something and even listen to our work. Honored.
With the show syndicated to hundreds of stations it’s bound to be on near you – Check the site for local listings –http://www.echoes.org/
Michael Teager and my recent Living Room Concert, where we performed selections from Convocation, is set to run tomorrow, 11/6/13 on Echoes with John Diliberto. With the show syndicated to hundreds of stations it’s bound to be on near you – Check the site for local listings –http://www.echoes.org/ – In the meantime, check out our bad selves on the homepage of Echoes:
The fall tour that I had talked about has really morphed into more of a short publicity tour as we head out east for a few dates to promote Convocation, two of which are radio performances (WXPN’s Star’s End and Echoes), with The Gathering being the only performance with an audience in the traditional sense.
I’ve never really “worked” a single record like I have with Convocation, but that’s exactly what we’ve done over the last year. I was always afraid this kind of approach would get stale, but quite to the contrary, this approach feels right and appropriate, a good way to honor the recording. When I listened to the first mixes of Convocation I truly felt that we had hit sonic gold. I really felt that we were on to something with our approach and the outcome. While we’ve certainly played selections of this recording around Michigan, to truly bring this work, in a live way, to a Gathering, Star’s End and Echoes, the trinity of live ambient and contemplative music in one go is very exciting and a little frightening.
Confidence through preparation. One of the other things that makes these performances different is that I’ve prepared for them in so many different ways. I’ve always been an improviser, not fixated on outcome but rather on real-time experience. With these performances, however, Convocation’s proper performance is the outcome. Chance elements have been reduced. Of course, I can’t neglect chance altogether, as that was the alchemical stew from which Convocation was born, on the spot, but to use this phrase again, and it certainly could start to get a little cheesy, it’s a way to honor the work that is Convocation.
If you can make it out to the Gathering, it would be great to meet and talk with you.
The Gatherings Concert Series presents Vic Hennegan and Dave Luxton plus Matt Borghi & Michael Teager live in concert on Saturday 19 October 2013 at 8:00PM in the church sanctuary of St. Mary’s Hamilton Village, 3916 Locust Walk on the Penn campus in West Philadelphia. Admission: $20 cash at the door. Advance Tickets are available at a discount throughhttp://www.ticketweb.com. Proceeds to benefit CIMA of PA. For complete details please access: http://www.thegatherings.org
Following The Gatherings Vic Hennegan, Dave Luxton and Matt Borghi & Michael Teager will play on into the night on the 20 October 2013 broadcast of STAR’S END Ambient Radio. For complete details please access: http://www.starsend.org
For starters, I’m really excited to announce that Michael Teager and myself will be coming to the U.S. east coast this Fall to perform selections from our release, Convocation. Details are still coming together, but we know that we’ll be doing a performance at a Gathering in Philadelphia (details haven’t been added to the site yet) as an opening act for Dave Luxton and Vic Hennegan followed by a performance Chuck Van Zyl’s excellent and long-running Star’s End program, as well we’ll be coming to do a Living Room Concert at the studios of the nationally-syndicated Echoes program. There will also be dates in Baltimore with Jason Sloan and another show or two, but we’re still in the planning stages there.
One of the things that’s really exciting for me is that Michael and myself will actually be playing music from the recording, created live and in real-time. While Convocation was almost completely improvised live to tape there were charts that I followed in setting up the compositions, so bringing the experience of Convocation to a live audience is something very new for me, as a composer of electronic music. Generally, you take this kind of thing for granted, as a musician in band, because if you’re not playing the songs what are you playing, but ambient and electronic music, for me, has always been very free, more like free jazz than organized composition where live performance is concerned.
Michael and I have played selections from Convocation in various forms, not always totally true to the recording in the year, plus since we went into the the studio to record it and it’s been an interesting trial run for this series of performances. I’m looking forward to Michael and myself practicing our sets, not to memorize note for note, but to set up the basic structure and create new sonic expressions and serendipitous moments as we go.
Convocation is the work of ambient composer Matt Borghi (www.mattborghi.com) and saxophonist, Michael Teager(www.michaelteager.com). Recorded as a series of improvisational structures in spring of 2012, this is the first recording that Borghi and Teager have done together after a half-decade of working together.
With Convocation, Borghi brings in spacious guitar textures to create a harmonic fabric for Teager to lay out his saxophone playing with subtlety and nuance. With a background in classical and jazz saxophone, Teager brings a wide palette of influences to the music. Listeners will hear aspects of Jan Garbarek, John Coltrane and Dave Liebman that’s juxtaposed over Borghi’s pastoral guitar sounds that have more of their timbral origins in the work of Claude Debussy or Ralph Vaughan-Williams than they do other contemporary ambient guitarists.
Convocation, as a whole, aims to create a deep and timbrally interesting listening experience while also bringing together an interesting musical pairing and improvisational process. Saxophone and ambient music have never sounded like this, and Borghi & Teager attribute this to their friendship, their approach to the work and their diverse musical interests.
Praise for ‘Convocation’
A nice review was published in the April 2013 edition of textura. Full article here.
– “Guitarist Matt Borghi and saxophonist Michael Teager have fashioned a wonderful ambient-styled recording that distinguishes itself dramatically from others in the genre.”
The album received quite a positive review from Hypnagogue, a very comprehensive review site for ambient and electronic music. You can read the whole thing here.
– “I’m going to be very surprised if this doesn’t end up on a lot of ‘Best Of’ lists this year. You have to hear Convocation.”
Convocation received a nice review from Carlton Crutcher at Aural Innovations.
There was an excellent review of The Phantom Light that showed up recently on the Make Your Own Taste blog. It’s not excellent because it talks positively of my work, which it does, in honest context, but because the writer, whom I don’t know and don’t even have a name for, has demonstrated that they get and understand the work that I put together. As I posted in my comments for the review: “…You get exactly what I was trying to do and in your words and reflection I feel that I achieved it. As an artist you can’t hope for any more than this…”
This recording is nearly seven years old, but it pleases me greatly to know that listeners are still finding this recording satisfying and enjoyable – Read the review here: http://makeyourowntaste.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/matt-borghi-the-phantom-light-2006-murky-sadness-on-the-great-lakes/