May 2003
interview by Ian C Stewart

Ambient guitar soundscapist Matt Borghi creates atmospheric, icebound recordings in his home studio in Michigan. "I have a few guitars, mostly acoustic, which has been my main instrument for all of my electronic ambient recordings for a long while. I have a Minidisc player, and a stereo mic for field recordings. I use a lot of sound synthesis technology, mostly on computers. I use a lot of strange elements, with source material coming from broken radios, TVs, and alarm clocks."

His approach is conceptual. "I'm almost exclusively interested in the process, and how a work comes to be. For me the art is doing the work. The work itself almost becomes a by-product of the artistry itself."

Gigs are definitely part of the equation, including Cleveland's 2002 Synfest. "It was only about two hundred people, but as an ambient composer that's about as big as it gets. I've never had such a receptive audience - fixating on everything we did. It was weird, but for a hot minute I felt like what I was doing mattered. There were some really beautiful moments that night."

He is something of a cottage industry with at least nine releases in the past couple of years. "The internet changed everything. It gives artists a place to cultivate a fan base. Of course there are still things the artist needs to do to be heard, and to build a consciousness of their work, but it's easier now. Because of this there's a tendency to exploit it toward a financial end, which makes a lot of internet PR static and irrelevant after a while, so there are two sides to the coin. The internet has flipped the paradigm of the independent artist completely. When you combine that with press PR, tours, and good music, you have a much higher rate for generating an audience, which is good because the media conglomerates that run things make it impossible for us little folks."

That doesn't change his feelings as a music consumer though, and Borghi remains a big fan of Pink Floyd. "Even now, after thousands of listens, I'll hear something new on Dark Side of the Moon. They were a genius ensemble, but beyond that they were extremely imaginative in the concept of their works, and the composition." He also holds Air, Debussy and Fugazi near and dear.

Borghi's time is taken up with Kosik (his duo with Michael Kirson-Goldapper) and contemplating an ongoing run of new releases. "I'm considering doing a monthly series of contemplative ambient works that are conceptually based, using a variety of sound sources to make extremely contemplative works. These pieces might be of any amount of movements, and lengths."

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