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.
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.”
The series is ongoing. Here’s a listing of all compositions, so far:
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.
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 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,
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.
I’ve created a playlist on Spotify called The Sound of Ambient Guitar. I’ve come across so many great artists and tracks that I haven’t heard before and I’ll be constantly updating this. Please let me know about any tracks that you think I should include.
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. 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.