I just wanted to take a minute and feature some of my lesser-known songwriting work. There’s the serious songs, which I put in air quotes, that’s the first playlist and then there’s the stuff that I do as Matt Bird, which is silly, jokey, bathroom humorey; fun to do…
The Detroit76’s Premiere is a new recording that I’ve been kind of keeping under wraps for a few months. I worked on it from 2015 – 2018 here and there, changing things, adding things, reworking things… I play guitar, bass, drums, sing, monolog and even do some fake accents as I did narrative readings.
This record touches on the soul, funk, jazz and lounge directions that are the cornerstone of my musical influences, artists like: Curtis Mayfield, Air, Burt Bacharach, Zero7, Isaac Hayes, downtempo, lounge, James Brown, and many others; musically, for me, it’s somewhere between Images and After Otherwise, but at the same time very different than those because I worked on this, literally, measure by measure at some points; definitely different than my creative process for ambient guitar, of which there is still much of throughout this recording. After a lot of deliberation, I finally decided to release all of the tracks instead of parcelling them out and trying to create a couple thematic recordings; I just became too connected to them as a whole. The music is available on Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon and many other online services.
Matt Borghi’s Ambient Guitar for Christmas is a brave achievement that blends classic Christmas melodies, masterfully performed in Borghi’s signature style of ambient guitar, with deep drones and dense sonic textures.
“I’ve always wanted to do an “ambient” Christmas record. When I imagined the recording, it needed to be an ambient recording first, with drones and textures mixed with Christmas melodies.” Matt says.
Ambient Guitar for Christmas consists mostly of shorter, traditional songs such as Jingle Bells, The First Noel and the Ukrainian folk song Shchedryk, made famous as ‘Carol of the Bells‘, but Borghi just couldn’t shake his love for long-form ambient guitar work and included a rendition of Silent Night that floats from note to note capturing the essence of a truly silent night.
Matt says: “With Ambient Guitar for Christmas, I wanted to capture the melancholic nostalgia of Christmas music and blend it with those same qualities that are often prominent in my own music.”
Matt Borghi’s Ambient Guitar for Christmas is streaming on Bandcamp with a physical CD available here. Streaming on Spotify, iTunes and Amazon is in progress and will be available by Christmas; This page will be updated as the recording is added.
What people are saying about Ambient Guitar for Christmas:
“This music is the perfect soundtrack to sugarplum dreams as you drift off to sleep Christmas Eve. Matt Borghi strikes the right balance between amorphous shifting chords and the familiar melodies of Christmas past.”
– Brad Ross-Macleod
“His 12-minute take on “Silent Night,” might be the most meditative and chilled out version of the holiday classic you’ll ever hear.”
– Chris Wardell
East Lansing Info
Last time I wrote, the leaves hadn’t changed color much, but that’s all changed in the last week; oranges, reds and yellows are exploding everywhere. It’s a beautiful and majestic time that’s giving me that ‘warm blanket, in front of a crackling fire, cozy feeling’, which gets me looking forward to the warmth of the holidays.
Ambient Guitar for Christmas
I spent most of September preparing for my Leelanau Uncaged performance and when not doing that I was wholly consumed with finishing my Ambient Guitar for Christmas release. I’ve always wanted to do an “ambient” Christmas record, but didn’t want it to be to schmaltzy, or maybe just the right amount of schmaltz. After some experimentation, the direction seemed to of spacey guitar melodies of classic Christmas songs floating above dense sound textures. It works and I’m proud of the finished product. You can get it from Bandcamp here, and it will be showing up on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, etc, in the weeks to come. I will also be putting together a hard copy CD release; if you’d like one let me know or watch my website for updates.
Monday, October 22nd – 7:00pm – Michigan State University – Rest With Music: Goodnight Concert Series – Abrams Planetarium, East Lansing, MI
Thursday, November 29th – 12pm – 89.3 WHFR – On-Air Live Performance, Dearborn, MI
Many thanks to the army of volunteers who helped put on the Leelanau Uncaged performance — It was great! Those folks are professional, well-organized and great hosts. The backdrop for this event couldn’t be more perfect: Autumn on the shore of Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay — Amazing! If you can, get to Northport, it’s a really special place.
I would love the opportunity to bring an ambient guitar performance to your neck of the woods. If you’re interested in setting up a show or can recommend a venue near you, please get in touch.
Take it easy and stay in touch.
From the press release…
Matt Borghi will be appearing in Northport, MI at Leelanau Uncaged on the Willowbrook Mill Stage at 9pm. For this event Matt has created an immersive quadrophonic audio and video experience in HD, titled The Hand of God, that will transform the historic mill into an environment bathed in light and sound.
I’ve been experimenting with video for some upcoming live performances, as well as dabbling in the idea of slow tv (ala some of the work that NRK in Norway has done) for use with Smart TVs and other similar devices. I’ll be sharing and working on more of these, but thought I would share this one, as it’s also comprises an unreleased track that I did with drummer/percussionist, Will Jurkiewicz.
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… until it was: Winter Eyes.
Winter Eyes, 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’ve called it ‘psych folk’, but now I call it droneFolk. 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 (too precious) 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 try to breathe new life into the work that I created with Olagra and rekindle the DroneFolk work that I started crafting years ago and try to make it part of my broader “Matt Borghi” catalog, I’ve taken some great acoustic rock and folk tunes and added guitar drones to them as I try to ‘re-imagine’ how this classic period of music might have sounded with more prevalent drones within them. I’m pretty pleased with the mix. I hope you are, too…
DroneFolk Sampler Playlist
Wooden Ships – Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
If I Were a Carpenter – Bobby Darin
It Don’t Matter To Me – Bread
Taxi – Harry Chapin
Burned Down – Matt Borghi
Early Morning Rain – Ian and Sylvia
The Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel
Deep Side of Tomorrow – Matt Borghi
Fire and Rain – James Taylor
If – Bread
If You Could Read My Mind – Gordon Lightfoot
Old Man – Neil Young
Summer Wages – JD Crowe and the New South
Will Be Tomorrow – Matt Borghi
Baby I’m a Want You – Bread
Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright – Bob Dylan
Heart of Gold – Neil Young
Wichita Lineman – Glen Campbell
Vincent (Starry, Starry Night) – Don McLean
I was very pleased to have the opportunity to present a ‘guest’ mix as part of Dave Michuda’s excellent Low Light Mixes program.
Here’s my write-up on the program, a bit on the track selections and the track list:
I was very pleased when Dave invited me to submit a guest mix to the Low Light Mixes. Dave’s mixes are as diverse as they are interesting and they’re always chill with good vibes. I spent quite a bit of time thinking about what I might contribute that could hang with so many great mixes. I have a certain thing I do with the Ambient Soundbath Podcast, but the Low Light Mixes are more all-encompassing.
- 00:00 – 06:00 – The Child with a Lion – Harold Budd – The White Arcades
- 06:00 – 09:30 – Piano Drone 4 – Durango Budd – Drones for Prepared and Synthesized Piano
- 09:30 – 12:30 – A Child in a Sylvan Field – Harold Budd – By the Dawn’s Early Light
- 12:30 – 31:00 – Bismillahi’ Rrahman Rrahim – Harold Budd – The Pavilion of Dreams
- 31:00 – 33:00 – Piano Drone 5 – Durango Budd – Drones for Prepared and Synthesized Piano
- 33:00 – 39:00 – The Room of Ancillary Dreams – Harold Budd – The Room
- 39:00 – 46:30 – Piano Synthesis Drone 3 – Durango Budd – Drones for Prepared and Synthesized Piano
- 46:30 – 59:00 – Agua – Harold Budd – Agua
- 59:00 – 61:30 – Piano Drone 1 – Durango Budd – Drones for Prepared and Synthesized Piano
A new long form work, Waters of March, is available here at Bandcamp. This track came about as a meditation piece. I was meditating and using the guitar and some sound synthesis to create a drone for the meditation, and as I sat and listened, breathing in and out of the sonic layers, an entire piece came to life and that’s what I’m presenting here. I love these works that come about through serendipity and I love that the web provides a forum for sharing these works with friends. Enjoy the music.