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.”

Matt Borghi – Winter Eyes

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.