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.
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.
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.
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:
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
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.