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Matthew Montfort
Matthew Montfort

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Matthew Montfort
Seven Serenades
Seven Serenades Media Report
Seven Serenades
(3.9 MB)

Ancient Future
Yearning for the Wind
Yearning for the Wind Reviews 2014
Yearning for the Wind (576k pdf)

Ancient-Future.Com Records
30th Anniversary Releases
Download Ancient-Future.Com 30th Anniversary Media Report
30th Anniversary (3.2 MB)

Reviews

“The most beautiful, soulful guitar I have ever heard!!” — Chandi Devi, Editor-in-Chief, Karmacaffe.com

“I first realized Matthew Montfort was a true guitar wizard when he called me on the phone and played me one flawless Hendrix riff after another. We were in the seventh grade. By the time we escaped high school, Matt had gone acoustic, turning coffee house basements into his own planet with fierce improvisations touching on an occasional Spanish or Celtic launching pad. Now a pioneering master of world fusion, Matt continues to travel, study, absorb and immerse himself in musics and traditions all over the globe. His knowledge and depth are staggering, yet he doesn't let it get in the way of the joy and spirit and soul that we like about music in the first place. The sparkling presence and sustain you hear is not an amplified acoustic with a lot of reverb, but a scalloped fretboard guitar. Matt's the only person I know who can play one. Most rock musicians I've mentioned it to seem shocked that it even exists. The Mid-Eastern ventures are my favorite.” — Jello Biafra (seminal punk rock singer, Dead Kennedys front man turned spoken word activist, politician), Alternative Tentacles Records

“Master of the scalloped fretboard guitar.” — J. Poet, East Bay Express

“Matthew Montfort's synthesis of styles and sounds isn't superficial — he plucks the essential musicality of several traditions without discounting them. Beautiful world fusion music.” — Roger Carlberg, Electronic Musician

“World fusion ensemble Ancient Future, led by guitarist Matthew Montfort, has been a going concern since the late 70s. Since their previous release Planet Passion in 2001, they have chosen to make new material available to supporters by subscription only, via A.F.A.R. (The Archive of Future Ancient Recordings), an archive of alternate takes, live concerts, radio performances and new studio recordings as they are created. Yearning for the Wind, a single extended track based on North Indian raga and set in a nine beat rhythmic cycle, is an enhanced CD with audio and video. Featured are Montfort on scalloped fretboard guitar, and master tabla player Vishal Nagar. The piece starts slowly with an acoustic guitar solo that emphasizes the pitch-bending qualities of the scalloped fretboard, later joined by the tabla a couple minutes in, and slowly evolving through numerous sections where the tabla and guitar alternate lead roles. Adding the visual aspect of the video brings in a whole new dimension to the proceedings, and highlights the intense rhythmic complexity that Nagar brings to the table. The exhaustive liner notes in the booklet explain the details of the piece, section by section. For fans of world fusion music, it doesn't get much better than this.” — Peter Thelen, Exposé

“Matthew Montfort is an American Ravi Shankar on guitar.” — Pandit Habib Khan, sitarist

“Guitar is seldom featured in Indian classical music – yet Montfort is a pioneer of such and uses the scalloped fretboard guitar to bring out the best in Indian sounds. His background as a student of the notoriously-difficult sitar lends to translations which shine on guitar” — WorldDiscoveries.net

“For me it's always the music that comes first, and in Matthew Montfort and Ancient Future we have creativity that breaks many boundaries. As such, it richly deserves non-ordinary attention. Ancient Future's a multi-member group but this latest issuance, a 10:39 single, involves just Matt and Vishal Nagar, tabla virtuoso, in a balladic duet of the most refined sensibilities, the sort of horizon Peter Green was heading for in his magnificently extended Oh Well (Then Play On), with its underlying motives—before, that is, misfortune claimed him. Not, I add, that Yearning for the Wind contains any of the baroquely magisterial elements Green incorporated, indeed almost stentoriously at moments, but instead the wont to eternally forward thinking. In such, one could also cite Jimmy Page / Led Zeppelin's Black Mountain Side with Viram Jasani, a venture the unfortunately drug-ridden supergroup would never again repeat. Yearning for the Wind marks a new high-water mark in recording, and it isn't a concert video but an HD studio vid of a long cut not based in click tracking; that is, the basic tracks were taken live through seven audio sources and three cameras plus a chordal overdub. It's released in E-CD (enhanced CD), one session dedicated for CD players, the other for computers. The consumer gets both, and the latter includes extensive digital liner notes explaining the musical traditions of Indian raga and tala as well as HD video in 96/24 hi-res audio. This devours all the space on the disc leaving no possible room for another track…and thus you see why I regard it as a unique event well outside normal releases. Montfort intended the "disc" to hit all levels: musicians' top-end aesthetics, audiophile expectations and delectations, and then great response in a standard CD player. This is the only single I'll put on a Best Of ever.” — Mark S. Tucker, FAME Top 30, Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange

Seven Serenades is remarkably similar to a classical Hindustani improvised performance. There are brief guest spots featuring supportive background performances of didjeridu, santur, and violin, but most tracks are single note melodies on guitar, accompanied by nothing but an unobtrusive drone. The basic form of most of the tracks is the Hindustani alap/jhor/jhala, that slowly explores every part of the selected scale, first with no rhythm at all, then with a slowly increasing rhythmic pulse that builds to a heavily strummed crescendo. But although some of the scales on this album are based on traditional ragas, they do not come from a single guru, but from every corner of Montfort’s diverse musical history. ‘Celtic Raga’ is based on the Hindustani scale Khammaj, known as mixolydian in the west, which is the basis for many Irish fiddle tunes. Montfort’s interpretation starts by evoking a slow Celtic air, then gradually falls into the structure of a dancing Irish reel as it picks up tempo. ‘Lilalit’ is built on the challenging scale of Raga Lalit. Montfort’s interpretation combines the broad stark intervals of that raga to reveal jazzy chords that sound dissonant at first, but are actually following a special kind of consonance. ‘Purple Raga’ unpacks the melodic rules contained within the guitar riff of the famous Jimi Hendrix song ‘Purple Haze’ and reveals some powerful connections between Afro-American and Hindustani roots. Because Montfort’s guitar has a scalloped fretboard, his fingers touch only the strings, enabling him to produce ornaments more characteristic of the sitar. This album reveals a thorough knowledge of Hindustani microtonal ornaments, transferred in ways that create one of the most distinctive guitar sounds in contemporary music. However, it also reveals a lifetime of exploration in world music, which can be immediately summoned in a flash of inspiration. When this level of mastery is reached, there is no need to rewrite. The first improvisation has the depth of a reworked composition.” — Teed Rockwell, India Currents, March 2009

Matthew Montfort teaches and produces records from studios in Marin and Sonoma Counties in California. Postal: Matthew Montfort, POB 264, Kentfield CA 94914-0264. Email: info@ancient-future.com. Tel: 415-459-1892. Website: matthewmontfort.com.