November 2020 – Email Newsletter

November 2020 – and The Lost Year 

Matt Borghi Michigan Songwriter The Lost Year

Hey there,
 
It’s been a couple months since my last email. I hope you’re doing well and staying healthy.
 
I haven’t been feeling very promotion-oriented lately, but with the release of The Lost Year and the release of the first three Dronearium series (123) recordings over the last couple months, I decided that I should probably send out a note.I am really excited for the release of The Lost Year. This is a recording that I’ve been working on intermittently for the last year. If you liked Consciousness of Light, it’s the follow-up that I promised would be out in early 2020 but, when COVID hit, work crawled to a halt. The Lost Year brings together two things I’ve been trying to successfully merge for years: My deep love for textural, ambient drone music and the other side of my artistic self, my songwriting. I’ve gotten close to merging these at times, but never quite hit it in a way that lasted, for me. Consciousness of Light marked a change in my process, formula and approach; The Lost Year continues what started there. For me it perfectly merges what Brian Eno talked about with ambient music – ‘a music that be listened to as easily as ignored’ but also a music that comes from a deeper part of my artistic self. A quick bit about the Dronearium series:
 
“Dronearium is a series of long form musical soundscapes that takes listeners into an array of ambient soundworlds, all anchored in resonant drones and treated with texture and melancholic nostalgia. Inspiration for these works come from science fiction, archeoastronomy, pre-Columbian peoples and myths, as well as landscapes, seascapes and the natural world, imagined and reimagined.”
 
The Dronearium series (123), for me, started when I wanted to take a break from the songwriting work and just make drones, sounds and textures of a sci-fi or otherworldly nature. The Dronearium series is different than my other ambient music, of late, because music for meditation and sleep has been the focus. With that music, I avoid sharp tones, dissonance, rhythms, etc. things that I enjoy in other music, Stanley Kubrick’s soundtrack to 2001: A Space Odyssey comes to mind. All told, the Dronearium series is still very ambient, but the intention behind it is different.
 
That’s all for now.

Enjoy the new music and let me know how you’re doing.
 
Matt 

The Lost Year

My new recording, The Lost Year, is out now. I am really excited for the release of The Lost Year. This is a recording that I’ve been working on intermittently for the last year. If you liked Consciousness of Light, it’s the follow-up that I promised would be out in early 2020 but, when COVID hit, work crawled to a halt. The Lost Year brings together two things I’ve been trying to successfully merge for years: My deep love for textural, ambient drone music and the other side of my artistic self, my songwriting. I’ve gotten close to merging these at times, but never quite hit it in a way that lasted, for me. Consciousness of Light marked a change in my process, formula and approach; The Lost Year continues what started there. For me it perfectly merges what Brian Eno talked about with ambient music – ‘a music that be listened to as easily as ignored’ but also a music that comes from a deeper part of my artistic self.

The Road Less Travelled

As was started over a year ago with the release of Consciousness of Light and I continued to work on through the early pandemic lockdown, it’s all about the songs and songwriting. I’ve released a few things in that time, a new series called Dronearium (1 and 2 are out now) of mostly long-from atmospheric soundscapes – I have about ten of these that are mostly finished that I’ve worked on over the last year, as well as releasing a recording that Michael Teager and I had worked on for quite some time, Subterranean Bearings.

Through it all, through all of this crazy 2020, the songs have been a touchstone. I constantly come back to the songs. I’ve tried to create a follow-up to Ambient Guitar not less than 40 times and I have dozens of guitar-centric ambient tracks. The smart money is on an Ambient Guitar follow-up, which folks have loved and has given me no shortage of good energy inspiration, but the inspiration continues to move to the songs – Back to basics.

I’m particularly proud of this May YouTube performance, where I brought together the songs with ambient guitar in a live performance setting:

I feel like this is the future, right now, but usually no sooner than I’ve said it, the muse takes me down some other creative rabbit hole.

For the better part of this year and last, I’ve been working on a recording I’ve been calling “Within/Without” but then I found another record with that name, so now I don’t know what I’m calling it. This record is song-centric. It could be summed as songs with ambient drones and textures, like Olagra, like Consciousness of Light, but, presently, there’s only one instrumental track.

It’s been with no shortage of self-consciousness, which is likely why it’s taken me 15 years and more start/stops that I can recall, to make the songs the focal point. I’ve loved my exploration of sound and textures and raw, unbridled creativity, but I’ve also felt, at times, emotionally absent from those recordings, perhaps its the lack of ego in that music and perhaps it’s a good thing. Perhaps the songs are the ego’s way of pulling me into myself rather than focusing on a music that’s beyond myself and not about me. That’s plausible, but I have to take the journey. No shortcuts.

So, yeah, that’s where things are. I’m writing songs. I’m singing songs. I’ve called it ambient folk, drone folk and dreamt up many more marketing categories to try and relay, in a few words, what I’m trying to achieve. It just doesn’t work that way.

I hope you’ll stay with me, but I understand that, as a friend once told me as a punchline to a joke: “I’m not interested in growing with you as an artist; just play the hits.”

Music for Meditation and Sleep

The series is ongoing. Here’s a listing of all compositions, so far:

Music for Meditation and Sleep, Vol. 10

Music for Meditation and Sleep, Vol. 9

Music for Meditation and Sleep, Vol. 8

Music for Meditation and Sleep, Vol. 7

Music for Meditation and Sleep, Vol. 6

Music for Meditation and Sleep, Vol. 5

Music for Meditation and Sleep, Vol. 4

Music for Meditation and Sleep, Vol. 3

Music for Meditation and Sleep, Vol. 2

Music for Meditation and Sleep, Vol. 1

Since I started facilitating group mindfulness meditation sessions, I found, even more than when I started the Ambient Soundbath Podcast, the need for specially composed works designed for meditation and sleep. I’ve created the meditation and sleep series for just that purpose: Long form work, ever-evolving, consonant works that create relaxed states of mind.

Consciousness of Light

I’ve been ‘woodshedding’ for the last 18 months or so, trying to find that sweet spot between ambient and songwriting that I began in 2004 with Olagra, and I’ve been exploring ever since, never quite able to capture the sound I imagined and heard in my head. Well, I’ve finally got something, a process, a sound that stands up to repeated listens. It’s ambient, it drones, it’s sonically interesting, but these are songs that I’ve crafted, words and singing that integrates my being into the music… it can be listened to or ignored, to hearken back to what Eno said regarding what an ambient music should be. 

For a while I was calling it Drone Folk, maybe it is or it isn’t… Either way, I’ve finally hit the mark, captured the lightning in the bottle and merged two sides of my creative self, successfully.

The new recording is called Consciousness of Light. It’s only on Bandcamp right now. I’ll be submitting it to my distributor soon (Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, etc.), but I wanted to give you, in my email community, first crack at this. Consciousness of Light is an EP. I believe that I’ll have a follow-up, full-length done early in 2020, as I have dozens of songs that I’m looking to work into this new process.

I’m super excited about this new recording and I plan to be performing it live as my entire new process is also something that I can recreate for the live audience; that’s really the second exciting dimension of this new direction. To that end, I’ll also be putting up live videos from time to time on my YouTube page – https://www.youtube.com/user/mattborghi

A meditation.

A Meditation - Matt Borghi - Ambient Guitar - Sunrsie

A reminder that everything changes
and keeps on changing and you don’t have
to stay with it,
but you might as well go with it,
ride the wave,
go with the flow,
let it happen.

Make peace the fact that
you’ll be making peace
with change or
resisting it, i.e. fighting it
for a long time to come.
Well, until you don’t,
or can’t,
because you cease to be.
You cannot a fight against change.

This is a meditation.

Everything is a meditation.

How can I grow from this.

How can things be made better from this experience?

I’m not sure…
but I’ll start right now.

Downtempo Chill from Matt Borghi and The Detroit76 with Premiere

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.

Ambient Guitar for Christmas

Stream on Bandcamp Here

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. 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
Falalalala.com

“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