The Sound Traveler Podcast

The Sound Traveler Podcast w/ Matt Borghi – Episode 019

This week the Sound Traveler Podcast features a performance of myself, Matt Borghi and Michael Teager, in its entirety, from SCENE Metrospace in East Lansing, Michigan on Saturday, May 25th 2014. Fans of the Ambient Soundbath and my work with Michael Teager will appreciate this long-player clocking in at 1.5 hours of uninterrupted sound, which was the intention of the program for this evening as it was titled: “Deep Immersion” and with video projections and a continuous stream of sound was meant to be just that.

The Sound Traveler Podcast w/ Matt Borghi – Episode 018

This week on the Sound Traveler Podcast, Matt and Michael Teager spend the bulk of the episode exploring the ECM Records work of French percussionist Manu Katche, focusing specifically on tracks from the recently released Touchstone for Manu recording out on ECM Records, a collection that spans Manu’s four recordings on the ECM label. This episode is a little different than most in that Matt and Michael spend a lot of time listening and responding to the music that they’re hearing, as well as spreading out and correlating other artist and musical stories to the listening experience. You can also read Michael’s thoughts over at his MT-Headed Blog here.

The Sound Traveler Podcast w/ Matt Borghi – Episode 017

This week on the Sound Traveler Podcast we visit and explore the Obscure Records archive that they’ve created on their site. Ubuweb writes this about Obscure Records:

“Obscure Records was a U.K. record label which existed from 1975 to 1978. It was created and run by Brian Eno, who also produced the albums (credited as executive producer in one instance). Ten albums were issued in the series. Most have detailed liner notes on their back covers, analyzing the compositions and providing a biography of the composer, in a format typical of classical music albums, and much of the material can be regarded as 20th century classical music. The label provided a venue for experimental music, and its association with Eno gave increased public exposure to its composers and musicians.“

For me, Obscure is a touchstone of sorts, particularly with the Harold Budd recording, Obscure #10, The Pavilion of Dreams, which is a beautiful record the, original vinyl I actually laid eyes on when we played an Echoes Living Room Concert at John Diliberto’s home and this recording was on display, and it was like touching a piece of awesome history, but also Obscure #3 Brian Eno’s Discreet Music, which I remember very clearly listening to in 2002 on a floor as I went to sleep at my friend Jason Sloan’s flat after we had performed our first gig in Baltimore. Both of these records are giant for me, and that tracks that comprise them shaped me as an artist.

In the circles that I work in it’s easy to assume that these recordings are standard issue, but they’re not readily available, at least if you don’t know of, so I want to feature them. As I dug deeper though I found myself listening the neo-classical works of Gavin Bryars, the Penguin Cafe Orchestra (who I had never heard of until my wife, Pam, bought a Penguin Cafe Orchestra Laserdisc, that ended up not working, but the liner notes stoked my curiosity until I found this record here, and even a John Cage piece.

Obscure Records was doing something exceptional, maybe not as exceptional then, as one reflects back through the scope of time, and all that was happening in that time of the mid 1970s or maybe more exceptional, when so much talk of curation is bandied about while so little is actually happening in any kind of informed, contextual way that takes the appreciator on a journey, be it in music, sound, visual or other arts.

This will be an uninterrupted bit of sound traveling  as we venture deep and revisit the excellence that was Obscure Records:

Track Listing:

  1. The Sinking of the Titantic – Gavin Bryars
  2. Bismillahi ‘Rrahman ‘Rrahim – Harold Budd
  3. McRimmon Will Never Return – Christopher Hobbs
  4. The Sound of Someone You Love Going Away and It Doesn’t Matter – Penguin Cafe Orchestra
  5. Experiences No. 1 – John Cage
  6. Discreet Music – Brian Eno

The Sound Traveler Podcast w/ Matt Borghi – Episode 016

This week on the Sound Traveler Podcast we’re featuring the work of my oldest friend, Michael Goldapper. Michael and I first met in sixth grade while discussing the finer points of LL Cool J’s BAD recording and then bonding over Eric B. and Rakim’s Paid In Full. From there, with the usual ups and downs of adolescence, Michael and I grew to be musical companions, discussing Metallica to Pink Floyd to Bread with many other musical stops along the way. Later, I learned how to play guitar and Michael was on his way to art school, when, in the summer, following high school graduation, we whiled away our days pickin’ Crosby, Still, Nash and Young Tunes and playing local coffee dives and rooftops around Detroit with him learning how to play the guitar while backing me up and singing. This was the beginning of our adult relationship. We grew into musical compadres, assisting one another in our endeavors. I kept writing songs and began to learn radio music production whereas Michael bought a four-track recorder and set about on a journey towards becoming a producer.

From the very first moment Michael hit record he had his own sound, his own way of writing songs, crafting the melodies and the structures. He kept at it, and around the year 2000, things started to change with the advent of the Mp3; suddenly there was a lot of independent music online and Michael and I both found homes for our work. This was a beautiful time for the indie artist. We could compete with the major labels by making our music available all over the world. Michael and I have been in numerous groups together, most notably KOSIK, which had some moderate success around 2003, but there’s much more that’s never been released or documented.

This brings us to this week’s program. This episode features two full length recordings – The first being, Michael’s 2001 recording, under the Odyssey5ive name, Looking Back, Moving Forward, the greatest record that only a handful of people have ever heard. Originally released on the old, this was Michael’s first solo record. Right up next to that we have a series of tracks that he sent me a few months ago, that I’ve dubbed ‘The Purple Record’. We have a solid 90 minutes of music featuring two recordings, by one man, separated by about 15 years; this program surely features the unique qualities and aesthetic that is the work of Michael Goldapper; you’re going to love it!

The Sound Traveler Podcast w/Matt Borghi – Episode 015

I love ambient, soundscapey, textural, experimental guitar, after all it’s what I do, so it was a pleasant surprise when Michael Teager started talking about guitarist/composer David Torn, and his record, Only Sky. I should have known who David Torn was, I didn’t, that’s kind of embarrassing, but there it is, and it’s out there now, as there’s little worse, for an artist, than not knowing the canon of those who laid the groundwork for your art. Apparently, Michael and myself played at the same venue as Torn when we were in Baltimore, the Wind Up Space, which I must say had the most gracious of proprietors… Good place, great people… After Michael shared this tidbit of datum with me I decided that I’d check out David Torn, and as I’ve said before, ECM Records is probably the only label that I enjoy, if not love, or very much appreciate, everything they release, so I did just that and was pleasantly surprised, so in today’s episode of the Sound Traveler Podcast, we’ll be listening to David Torn and selections from his Only Sky release, with companion commentary provided by Michael Teager and a companion review at Michael’s MT-Headed Blog, which you can read here. That’s not all, though…  In fact, this week’s episode is a bit of an ECM Recordings double feature, as we’ll be listening to Mathias Eick’s Midwest also, with that segment being punctuated by some Borghi | Teager sections which I’d be remiss not to include on this week’s sonic journey.

Mathias Eick is another artist I know little about, but I’ve enjoyed his 2008 recording, The Door for years, and his recording Midwest, which I can truly appreciate as a midwesterner is one that captures the sonic terrain of the upper midwest of the United States in a way that paints a picture of that geography, but through a distinctly Scandinavian lens with Eick’s trumpet coursing throughout creating a moody and evocative atmosphere that captures the quiet stillness of snowy, drifting plains.

This episode of the Sound Traveler Podcast is one of contemplative atmospherics, acoustic and electric, alike, that rewards active listening. Let’s get to it…

This week’s episode features (Track title/Album/Artist):

The Sound Traveler Podcast w/Matt Borghi – Episode 014

This is a special episode of the Sound Traveler Podcast where I did some live, on the spot reporting at the Detroit Jazz Fest with my good friend, Michael Teager. I’ll let Michael Teager kick off this write-up with a quoted passage from his MT-Headed Blog and his own article –

Pat Metheny‘s Hommage à Eberhard Weber received its North American debut Monday evening, September 8, 2015 in the Motor City. The new work, a mixed-media tribute to the German bassist featuring big band and sampled video, closed out the 2015 Detroit Jazz Festival on the main stage. Hommage was premiered in Stuttgart, Germany in January 2015 at a concert honoring Weber, which he attended, and also serves as the title track of the upcoming ECM release due out this Friday 09.11.15.

This preface for our evening really gets us started. Michael mentioned this performance, and I was immediately in knowing that a great time and an interesting Sound Traveler episode could come from this. I knew the record was coming out on ECM Records, but I had kind of lost track of the fact that the 2015 Detroit Jazz Fest curated by Pat Metheny was going to feature this piece. I’m a big Eberhard Weber fan, and after a stroke in 2007 left him unable to play, I knew that I might never get to hear his music live. That kind of changed at the North American premiere.

The performance featured archival footage of a solo Eberhard Weber from the 1980s that was cut up, sampled and then developed, compositionally by Pat Metheny. At the performance, there was a big screen projection that the band actually played with and it might be about as close as I’ll ever get to seeing Eberhard play, but it was a damn satisfying event.

In this episode, Michael Teager and myself travel to Detroit talk about our expectations and then reflect on what he heard, saw and experienced all while mixing kaleidoscopic field recorded sounds from the Detroit Jazz Festival side by side several excerpts from Pat Metheny’s Hommage à Eberhard Weber.

*Note – Sadly, my car microphone audio is bad, due to an inadvertent set up mistake; it’s not inaudible, but it can be a challenge to listen to like a scratchy Hot Club of France recording. Please listen to it, enjoy it and enjoy the music and sound.

The Sound Traveler Podcast w/ Matt Borghi – Episode 013

This is a contemplative and informative journey this week on The Sound Traveler Podcast. We’ll be talking music, sound and composition, then Matt interviews saxophonist and composer Neil Leonard as he talks about his composition Attachment Unavailable, a work dedicated to Amnon Wolman and performed by the Musica Nova ensemble, then we wrap up the show with the work of Esa Ruoho (a.k.a. Lackluster) and a contemplative, maybe dystopian, work called Preparazione from his album On the Hangar of Spaceship Earth, which considers R. Buckminster Fuller’s 1968 work “Operation Manual for Spaceship Earth”. This episode is full of thoughtful commentary and interesting sounds.

The Sound Traveler Podcast w/Matt Borghi – Episode 012

Space-Mountain_Full_11569It’s going to be a weird, wild ride today Sound Travelers… We’re going to be getting deep into many sound worlds, and many sounds that come from one place, one of my favorite places, a place where I go to recharge and get inspired… some call it the happiest place on earth… and that may give it away for some, as I’m talking about Walt Disney World.

Forget what you think you know regarding Frozen and those R & B style power ballads of the 1990s… that’s one side of Disney’s multidimensional musical universe, Today, though, we’re getting into the sound worlds of Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, and emphasizing one of my favorite places Tomorrowland, but then taking a trip through some sonic Disneyana that moves throughout the entire Magic Kingdom, itself, albeit an abbreviated version…

This trip is made more special by the fact that these recordings were collected via vinyl, tape recorders, soundtracks to home movies and reel-reel collected as field recordings, found on eBay and in garage sales alike where they were subjected to all manners of analog to digital conversion, thus making these a bit of a challenging headphone listen at times. These sounds, are true, though, and indicative of the period between 1971 and 1978 from which they came… Sure, There’s some nostalgia, here, make it no mistake about it, but it’s also a sonic time capsule where beautiful music and muzak styled strings meet the way out world of new synthesizer music and way-out west coast garage bands getting a bit psychey at times… The full continuum of music and sound design is on display in these recordings and its’ my pleasure to present them to anybody that may be taken back or just wants to hear what was going on at the mecca for pop culture in the 1970s…

Pull up your bell bottoms, slap on your favorite Mickey tee and fasten on those Mickey ears, sound travelers, as we’re going back in time…

The Sound Traveler Podcast w/Matt Borghi – Episode 011

Matt’s in a weird mood in this episode of the Sound Traveler Podcast. He’s doing too much thinking and not enough creating’, but that’s alright, as he’s getting out the bones, puttin’ it all out there in this episode. This episode has a contemplative nautical theme of sorts and features a summer storm sweeping in off of Lake Michigan with a variety of tracks playing just over the threshold of the stormy field recording, including some unreleased material, an edit of an Ambient Soundbath and two tracks from Matt’s Ghost Ship on a Black Sea. It’s a good journey — thoughtful, restorative and transformative. Come along, you’ll be glad you did.

The Sound Traveler Podcast w/ Matt Borghi – Episode 010

A little less talk and a little more action is theme of this episode of the Sound Traveler Podcast. We talk, a little and we play a some music, talk, music, talk, music, repeat, etc… This program features the music of Matt’s band Olagra and a tune called WCBN-Opening from a live “on-air” performance the band did in 2005, as well as the music of Stuart White’s Diatonis project and a track called Magician’s Cross from Landscape of a Dream, which gets a five diamond review from Matt, and the show is capped with a mysterious track that Matt found online many years ago by Kit Watkins called Music for End, 1 of 2. He doesn’t know where 2 of 2 is… do you? Listen as we get deep on this episode. We haven’t said this in a couple weeks, so hear goes: Go forth, sound travelers, with open ears…