Matt Borghi: Ambient Guitar
Matt Borghi

Sometimes the simplest recordings possess the greatest charm. That's certainly true in the case of Ambient Guitar, Matt Borghi's first solo recording. To clarify, simple refers in this case to the production approach, which involves a single musician armed with nothing more than electric guitar and effects. He often plays in partnership with saxophonist Michael Teager, but hearing Borghi alone proves to be no less satisfying a proposition.

As per the title, Ambient Guitar isn't about wild histrionics and aggressive, high-decibel soloing. Instead, its texturally rich settings opt for a quieter presentation, one perfect for the early morning or late-night hours; to that end, the material's oft-tranquil tone suggests that the guitarist might have recorded it during the wee hours with the world around him at rest and the lights turned low. Restraint in this case doesn't result in music that fades into the background but in its own way captivates with subtlety and nuance. For most of the eleven pieces, a glistening backdrop of delicate ambient guitar textures is generated against which a single electric solos for two to six minutes at a time. A blues feel often shadows Borghi's ruminations (see “The Snake” and “Truth and Being” as representative examples), while the volume level and timbres at times suggest kinship with jazz guitar playing.

Brian Eno, Harold Budd, Robert Fripp, and Jerry Garcia are cited as touchstones, and while a reverb-drenched miniature of ambient drift like “Presence” definitely shares certain qualities with the music of some of those artists, Ambient Guitar is so personal a creation one ultimately comes away from the recording thinking of Borghi alone. From the evocative “Belle Isle” to the heartfelt, song-like “Pamela,” it's lovely and haunting stuff, the kind of thing that pulls you into its world despite its subdued dynamic pitch, and though at thirty-seven minutes it might be modest by CD standards, Ambient Guitar feels just right, neither too short nor too long.

October 2016