About Matthew Montfort

Matthew Montfort

As leader of the world music group Ancient Future, Matthew Montfort has devoted himself to the scalloped fretboard guitar since 1978. He spent years of study with some of the world's best musicians, such as gamelan director K.R.T. Wasitodipuro, North Indian sarod master Ali Akbar Khan, and vina master K.S. Subramanian, with whom he did an intensive study of South Indian note-bending techniques. He was interviewed in the December 2009 Les Paul issue of Guitar Player Magazine about the scalloped fretboard guitar and the application of the rules of Indian raga to the music of Jimi Hendrix as exemplified by 'Purple Raga' from his debut solo recording, "Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar."

He has performed concerts worldwide, from the Festival Internacional de la Guitarra on the golden coast of Spain to the Festival of India in Mumbai. He has worked with many world music legends, including tabla phenomenon Zakir Hussain and Chinese zither master Zhao Hui. Montfort wrote the book Ancient Traditions & Future Possibilities: Rhythmic Training Through the Traditions of Africa, Bali, and India, which has been used by many musicians to improve their rhythm skills.


Latest Posts by Matthew Montfort

Ancient Future Times: Dickens of an Ancient Future Present

December 8, 2013 by  

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Ancient Future Times

December 2013 Issue:

Dickens of an Ancient Future Present

by Ancient Future Past, Present, and Future Leader Matthew Montfort with Apologies to Charles Dickens

I HAVE endeavoured in this Spooky little spoof, to raise the Spirit of a solution to Silicon Skulduggery, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, with their religions, or with me. The Culprits’ names are but metaphors for what Man must improve upon, and have been changed to protect the Guilty in hopes they may change their ways. Though it be lengthy for a dispatch of the Digital Age, may it haunt the Interwebs pleasantly.

Pirate and Scrooogle

Scrooogle Logo

Torrent Pirate was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. Etherseizer Scrooogle and he were partners for who knows how many years. Scrooogle was his search partner, his ad agency, his friend, and his mourner.

Scrooogle is what the politically astute would call a person of corporate heritage. As was Pirate. Nobody ever stopped them in the street to say, with gladsome looks, “My dear Pirate and Scrooogle, how are you?” Read the full story.

Musician’s Fund

A.F.A.R. So Far Digital Liner NotesA.F.A.R. So Far Tracks

“At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooogle,” said the gentleman, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Musicians. Many are in want of common necessaries to practice their craft. A few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy them some means of production. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?”

“Nothing!” Scrooogle replied. Read on.

While Scrooogle and the other tech titans are not currently interested in supporting the creation of the content they exploit, you, the dear reader may certainly do so. The Archive of Future Ancient Recordings is a collection of new recordings that are available to supporters as they are created.

Ghost of the Ancient Future Past

Turkish Taffy Youtube Video

Scrooogle Spoke of an Ancient Future Reunion Concert

“I am the Ghost of the Ancient Future Past. Rise, and walk with me!” When they entered, preparations for a concert were under way. In came a fiddler with a music-book, and went up to the stage and warmed up, his fingers moving like fifty buzzing bees. In came all the other young musicians with their instruments, bounding to the stage and readying to perform. Read on.

Ghost of the Ancient Future Present

Planet Passion CD CoverSangria CD CoverSeven Serenades CD CoverSeven Serenades CD Cover

“I am the Ghost of the Ancient Future Present,” said the Spirit. “Listen upon me!” Scrooogle reverently did so. “You have never heard the likes of this before!” exclaimed the Spirit. Read on.

The Gift of an Ancient Future Present

Ghost of the Ancient Future Yet to Come

“Ghost of the Ancient Future Yet to Come!” Scrooogle exclaimed, “Will you not speak to me?” Read on.

Meanwhile, in an Ancient Future Yet to Come

Concert Poster

Ancient Future announced tour dates featuring world guitar pioneer Matthew Montfort and tabla virtuoso Vishal Nagar, with stops at an organic restaurant in the Wine Country, an East Bay chapel, and a music hall in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

The End of the Beginning

“I will live in the Ancient Future Past, the Ancient Future Present, and the Ancient Future Yet to Come!” Scrooogle repeated, as he scrambled out of bed.” Read on.

New Video from Ancient Future ‘World Without Walls’ Reunion Concert

December 4, 2011 by  

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New Youtube Video from Ancient Future ‘World Without Walls’ Reunion

14 Steps youtube video
Live Version of ‘Turkish Taffy’ Recorded at Yoshi’s, San Francisco, 6/7/11:
http://youtu.be/e0YyuM7YTIo

On June 7, 2011, the exact lineup of Ancient Future that performed on the band’s influential World Without Walls recording reunited to perform for the first time in over 15 years at Yoshi’s San Francisco, where this video of Doug McKeehan’s ‘Turkish Taffy’ composition was recorded. Performing in the video, which is available for viewing at http://youtu.be/e0YyuM7YTIo, are Doug McKeehan (piano), Kash Killion (bass), Ian Dogole (percussion), Matthew Montfort (scalloped fretboard guitar), and Jim Hurley (violin).

‘World Without Walls’ by Ancient Future featuring Tabla Master Zakir Hussain on Capitol Records

World Without Walls CD Cover Art

To celebrate the reunion, Capitol/EMI Records has released the first ever digital version of Ancient Future’s classic 1990 World Without Walls recording. It is available now for download purchase at all major digital retailers (iTunes, etc.).

As its name suggests, World Without Walls by Ancient Future depicts a musical world without borders. This classic 1990 recording features Ancient Future members Matthew Montfort (guitars), Jim Hurley (violin), Doug McKeehan (keys), and Ian Dogole (percussion), plus special guest performances by world music legend and tabla master Zakir Hussain. The inviting melodies and ingenious use of ethnic textures make World Without Walls one of Ancient Future’s most accessible and broadly appealing releases ever.

While CD’s are no longer available in stores, a limited number of rare collectible original 1990 edition copies signed by Ancient Future leader Matthew Montfort are on sale exclusively at Ancient-Future.Com for $24.98.

Tabla master Zakir Hussain
Tabla master Zakir Hussain

‘World Without Walls’ by Ancient Future Debuts on CMJ New World and ZMR World/Ambient Charts

The World Without Walls digital reissue debuted at #34 on the CMJ New World Chart in the November 18 issue of CMJ, and at #39 on the October Zone Music Reporter World/Ambient Chart, which are very high entry positions for a digital-only release. The majority of college and public radio stations that report to these charts are still only equipped to program CD releases.

Live Version of ‘Turkish Taffy’ from Ancient Future Reunion at Yoshi’s SF Available to Radio

Radio Can Download Broadcast Quality Tracks
Radio Can Download Broadcast Quality Tracks
http://airplaydirect.com/music/AncientFuture

The live version of ‘Turkish Taffy’ recorded at the Ancient Future ‘World Without Walls’ Reunion Concert at Yoshi’s, San Francisco, is now available exclusively to radio programmers as a download. Radio programmers are encouraged to visit http://airplaydirect.com/music/AncientFuture for broadcast files, where ‘World Without Walls’ reached the #7 most downloaded release on AirplayDirect Global Radio Indicator Charts for all genres, or contact Ancient-Future.Com Records at info@ancient-future.com.

Ancient Future Band Biography

Ancient Future Photo Circa 1990 by Irene Young (Links to 864 x 570 Screen Version)
Ancient Future circa 1990. Photo by Irene Young. Pictured: Matthew Montfort (guitars), Jim Hurley (violin), Doug McKeehan (keys), Ian Dogole (percussion).

BILLBOARD calls the group “trendsetters” for contributing to the emerging movement known as world fusion music, a term Ancient Future leader Matthew Montfort coined at the band’s inception for music that blends musical ideas from many different cultures. Formed in 1978, Ancient Future is the world’s first and longest running ensemble dedicated exclusively to the mission of the creation of world fusion music. Their original music is an exhilarating fusion of exciting rhythms and sounds from around the globe that combines contemporary jazz and rock with the irresistible rhythms of African, Balinese, Indian, Middle Eastern and South American percussion, the rich harmonies of Europe, and the beautiful melodies of Asia.

In the years since the initial CD release of World Without Walls, Ancient Future has expanded from its core lineup through collaborations with noted masters of various world music traditions who are now an integral part of what is today more than just a band. Ancient Future has grown to become a large chamber ensemble of more than thirty performers from around the world with over a dozen smaller ensembles within it, enabling Ancient Future to realize its core mission of creating world fusion music.

Digital Release Specifications

World Without Walls 1 Sheet
World Without Walls 1 Sheet
(864 k, streaming audio)

Original Release Date: June 7, 2011

Label: Capitol Catalog

UPC: 5099908369956

Radio Promo Service: http://airplaydirect.com/music/AncientFuture

Reviewer Promo Service: info@ancient-future.com

Copyright: © 2011 Narada Productions, Inc

Genres: International/World/Jazz/General

Total Length: 44:26

Credits: Matthew Montfort (scalloped fretboard guitar, steel string guitars, electric guitars, classical guitar, guitar synthesizers, mandolin), Jim Hurley (acoustic violins, Zeta electric violin, steel string guitar), Doug McKeehan (piano, synthesizers), and Ian Dogole (dumbek, talking drum, congas, bongos, udu, shaker, bass drums, cymbal, sleigh bells, kendang, kajar, ceng-ceng, bells, chimes), Zakir Hussain (tabla, kanjira), Gary Brown (fretless electric bass), Jeff Narell (steel drums), Vince Delgado (tambourine), Jack Dorsey (drum set), Bill Douglass (acoustic bass, Chinese flutes), and Bruce Kaphan (recording engineer, shaker).

Track List: (>audio. Listen to all songs.)

  1. Lakshmi Rocks Me (Jim Hurley. 2:52)
  2. Dance of the Rain Forest (Matthew Montfort. 4:45)
  3. April Air (Doug McKeehan. 3:57)
  4. 14 Steps (Matthew Montfort. 4:30)
  5. End of the Beginning (Matthew Montfort. 5:15)
  6. Turkish Taffy (Doug McKeehan. 4:55)
  7. Alap (Matthew Montfort. 1:10)
  8. Indra’s Net (Jim Hurley. 4:53)
  9. Nyo Nyo Gde (Matthew Montfort. 4:00)
  10. Gopi Song (Doug McKeehan. 7:46)

Quotes

Asian Fusion Media Report
World Without Walls Media Report (13.9 MB)

“What’s an album like World Without Walls doing in the GEPR (Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progessive Rock)? ‘That’s not prog!’ I hear you say. Well, in my view it’s definitely progressive, in the true sense of the word, rather than the ‘sounds like Yes, Genesis or King Crimson’ sense. Ancient Future coined the phrase ‘World Fusion’ to describe their music. Not insipid easy-listening ‘World Music’, though it might make you think of that if you aren’t listening closely. World Without Walls is a remastered re-release of their 1990 classic, and doesn’t sound dated at all. World Without Walls is a fusion of musical stylings, scales and rhythms from around the world. The main influences I hear are Middle Eastern, Indian and South American, though there’s also Jamaican ‘Island Music’ sounds, Balinese and probably dozens of other influences too subtle for me to notice. The instruments run the gamut of acoustic instruments like violins, piano, tuned percussion instruments and tablas (by renowned master Zakir Hussain) and also electric guitar synths and synthesizers. Leader Matthew Montfort plays (along with other guitars) a unique scalloped-fretboard acoustic guitar which allows for subtle pitch-bending and timbre-modulation effects. A careful listen will reveal that this is way beyond the usual health-food store ‘World Music’ offerings and is instead a high-energy, very experimental fusion of styles from around the world. Highly recommended, and now offered as a digital download for the first time.” – Fred Trafton, Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progessive Rock (Nov 2011)

“It’s hard to remember — with the plethora of World Fusion albums currently available — a time when this sort of music was the new kid on the block. It showed up when much of the music on the radio was pretty much disposable (something that, unfortunately, hasn’t changed so much), when the new jazz at the time was still inspired by polyrhythms rather than melody, and the alt music scene was . . . well, kind of grungy. This classic album by Ancient Future was a breath of fresh air at the time of its release in 1990. With inspired skill and a great respect for the other cultures from which they took much of their inspiration, the band blended western music with that of pretty much every other continent, weaving magic with their melodies and rhythms. The core lineup played acoustic and electric guitars, violin, keyboards and percussion, with guests stepping in on bass, Chinese flutes, and the genius of Zakir Hussain on tabla.​And you know what? World Without Walls sounds as fresh and invigorating today as it did all those years ago upon its intial release. There’s not a single bad moment on the album.” – Charles de Lint, SleepingHedgehog.com (Nov 2011)

“Culturally diverse and deeply rich, you will find a blend of the exotic sounds from lands near and far; African, Balinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, South American, Europe and Asia. You will easily pick out the familiar sounds, seeing in your mind, dancers and musicians sharing their joy and passion – almost as though you are there. Admittedly, I have a weakness for violin and this album does not disappoint in that realm. What is exciting for me is the span of cultures I hear within the notes of that violin. But then, there is that tabla, and ohhhhhh, so happy I am.” – Zaina Hart, iShimmy.com, The Belly Dancer Magazine (Nov 2011)

“When one listens to the melodies and musical textures of the fifth release ‘World Without Walls’ by the group Ancient Future, words like exotic, elegant and sublime immediately come to mind. Within the offerings one clearly hears the ethnic influences of China, India, Africa, South America, Indonesia and the Middle East to name a few. World-class musicians including award-winning guitarist, Matthew Montfort, composer/violinist Jim Hurley and Zakir Hussain, master of the North Indian Tabla have blended these various musical styles and phrasings into a musical fusion that honors and yet transcends the cultural and political boundaries. Check out the group on YouTube and see if you are not drawn into their hypnotic enchantment. Ancient Future offers a musical vision of a ‘world without walls’ which is both appealing and accessible to the average listener and is highly recommended for anyone wishing to explore the amazing genre of World music.” – Jack Montgomery, Amplifier, Bowling Green Daily News (Sept 2011)

“San Francisco Bay Area-based Ancient Future was all about ‘world fusion’ before world music was even a genre. Violinist Jim Hurley came on board for this long-out-of-print 1990 outing, joining the core group of guitarist Matthew Montfort, keyboardist Doug McKeehan and percussionist Ian Dogole and remaining as a member for the rest of the group’s seven studio albums. Tabla player extraordinaire Zakir Hussain was recruited for three songs. Several exotic instruments spice up this instrumental stew, including electric violin and synthesized thumb piano (‘Dance of the Rain Forest’), steel drums (‘April Air’), and Balinese gamelan and Chinese flute (‘Nyo Nyo Gde’). Other highlights are ‘Lakshmi Rocks Me,’ a tribute to south Indian violinist L. Shankar; ‘End of the Beginning,’ a mashup of ancient Celtic and Indian influences; ‘Turkish Taffy,’ boasting a triple-lead attack comprising guitar, piano and acoustic violin; ‘Indra’s Net,’ inspired by Hindu mythology and featured in the soundtrack for the drift-net fishing documentary ‘Closing the Curtains of Death’; and ‘Gopi Song,’ a tip of the hat to Pandit Ram, master of a north Indian bowed string instrument called the sarangi.” – Peter Hund, Good New Music (Sept 2011)

“Sona Gaia and Narada were two of the more interesting World/New Age labels to erupt as the arts scene began diversifying with a seriousness that arose following the collapse of the 60s/70s ethos. Narada was a sketchy proposition at times, tending to the New Agier side of the house, whereas Sona always held a more serious attitude, and one of their best releases—this one, Ancient Future’s World without Walls—was never quite critiqued or marketed as it should have been: as a set of works in the tradition of Mahavishnu Orchestra, Between, Shakti, and other adventurous bands with almost inhuman chops. After all, the entire World gig pretty much rooted in the inestimably superlative Oregon, an ensemble that was and still is eons ahead of its time, talented beyond compare. Thus, those who came after should have been of-a-kind and acclaimed as such, right? Ah, but then the micky-marketeers entered, and what should’ve been a quantum leap became, well, Private Music, Steven Halpern, and Georgia Kelley, alas…although, in Shadowfax and others, the path was never quite erased. Well, now that everyone has sobered up and finds him- and herself able to ponder backwards, a few gems are being rescued. This re-release very much demonstrates that we missed quite a bit, even though Matthew Montfort continued his musical evolution and the band itself realigned for a dazzling concert last June (go to http://www.youtube.com/user/ancientfuture?blend=7&ob=5#p/a/u/0/Ro0VAo7a9BY and click on 14 Steps for a marvelous example). Along with Montfort came Ian Dogole, Doug McKeehan, and Jim Hurley, masters of their instruments, and the quartet played and still plays as though it were twice that size, complicated narrative and rhythms filling each track. The base flavors here are mid-Eastern modes, especially Indian, in tandem with the more sophisticated side of rock—after all, World music basically arose in the horizon-seeking of progrock, fusion, and jazz. World without Walls is drenched with the most enticing and hypnotic of essences, a record that, despite the passage of 21 years since its debut, cannot age, a document upholding a spirit of creativity ahead of its time hundreds of years ago and remaining so in the hands of masters such as these. Thank goodness some things never change.” – Mark S. Tucker, Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange (Sept 2011)

“A world without walls, without borders, that’s where the ensemble Ancient Future explicitly strives to inspire the music. The ensemble has already spent a long time developing quite a unique form of world fusion, which includes space for elements of jazz and minimal music. You hear the hypnotic repetitions of Steve Reich in the background in the sometimes beautiful music of this group, even though they know their murmuring music is always very pleasant to pass through, flowing like an eternal, peaceful meandering river on their way through many countries. Matthew Montfort and his ensemble have this time invited the great Indian tabla player Zakir Hussain, so this release mostly exhibits oriental atmospheres. There are beautiful woven rugs, inventive soundscapes created in which you can float away completely. Lie down on your carpet, relax, listen, close your eyes and you float. Yet you are uplifted enough to make this music so interesting that you do not fall asleep. Just listen to the tracks and you will hear what I mean – the details are refined and subtle. Beautiful.” – Holly Moors, moorsmagazine.com (Sept 2011)

“For a never-before-conceived blend of Asian and Western World Music, turn to the one who coined the phrase ‘World Fusion Music’, Matthew Montfort. World Without Walls by Montfort’s band, Ancient Future, has just been released digitally for the first time by Capitol Records, in order to preserve the original version, which is now out of print, and, to celebrate their tour that began earlier this year. For decades, Ancient Future has dedicated themselves to the creation of their own style, mixing jazz improvisation with exotic rhythms and sounds from every part of the world. The Asian meets West release of Ancient Future’s World Without Walls is one such rich musical journey. It is comprised of ten exquisite tracks with performances on scalloped fretboard guitar, synthesizer, acoustic violin, acoustic bass, and more, by its members: Ian Dogole, Bill Douglas, Doug McKeehan, Jim Hurley and Matthew Montfort. World is both complex and simple, laden with musically sophisticated arrangements and surprising blends of instruments that, although diverse, work very well. Internationally renowned Zakir Hussain (Shakti with John McLaughlin, Diga Rhythm Band, Planet Drum with Micky Hart, etc.) joins the band on several of the pieces. A child prodigy who has been duly awarded and highly acclaimed as a master of the tablas, Zakir Hussain is considered one of the pioneers of the world music movement. All the songs have their own story and ambiance, ranging from moody and haunting slow tempos (Gopi Song, Alap) to playful and bright compositions (Nyo Nyo Gde, Dance In The Rain). Imagine a clean Asian ‘tink’ sound next to a full-bodied western bass, while tablas subtlety keep an unlikely groove that never dominates the overarching theme of the piece. Lakshmi Rocks Me and Dance in the Rain Forest stand out in particular, demonstrating the cool blend of styles, and offering infectious melodies and satisfying grooves. Once again Montfort has created a multi-cultural musical experience. World Music and Jazz lovers, this is a must have in your collection!” – Claudia Neuman, Pathways (Sept 2011)

“It has been said that ‘history repeats itself’ and this is certainly the case with Ancient Future and their ‘World Without Walls’ CD. Initially released in 1990, it has very recently been re-released by Capitol Records, and is available for the first time in digital format on Amazon, iTunes, etc. This coincides with a current reunion tour of the exact members of Ancient Future who played on this album at that time. The group played at the world-famous Yoshi’s jazz club in San Francisco, as well as continuing on to other venues. A video of this performance can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ro0VAo7a9BY. The reunion show features Matthew Montfort on scalloped fretboard guitar, Jim Hurley on violin, Doug McKeehan on keyboards, and Ian Dogole on percussion who perform their first concerts together in over 15 years. A highlight on the album is a guest appearance by legendary tabla master Zakir Hussain on three songs. Bandleader and founder Matthew Montfort coined the term ‘world fusion music’ to define the band’s sound, which at the time of their formation in 1978 was pretty much uncharted territory compared to today. In fact, the prestigious Billboard Magazine cited them as ‘trendsetters’ for their early contribution. It’s gratifying to see this timeless classic album being reincarnated in this fashion, as well as the fact that Ancient Future has continued its musical evolution over a span of three decades.” – Michael Diamond, Awareness Magazine, (Sept 2011)

“A refreshing collection of unifying sound that is timeless.” – D. Oscar Groomes, O’s Place Jazz Newsletter (Sept 2011)

“‘World Without Walls’ is a wonderful collection of unusual music that has something for everyone. The CD consists of instrumentals, which is a wide range of musical expression going from haunting to soothing to stimulating the senses. Ancient Future is no ordinary group. Ancient Future is a band with a cause; they are helping to create world fusion music and at the same time are helping to keep ancient traditions alive. ” – Ariel Monserrat, Green Egg Magazine (Sept 2011)

“Ancient Future is a well known group inside the interesting world of the World Fusion Music (or World Music with fusions of many other styles). It is a group with a perfect fit of traditional instruments (flutes, percussion of different parts of the world, violin, etc) with others more associated with rock (bass and electric guitar, synthesizers…) and is made up of musicians who are capable of playing them all, which opens up many possibilities. The band was originally formed in 1978, with what at present is one of the most long-lived formations that has been dedicated exclusively to World Music, a genre (or perhaps an assembly of genres) that is very common at present, but that was not the case at end of the 70′s. Ever since their beginnings they have mixed diverse forms of music, originating from Africa, Bali, the India, the Near East, South America, Europe and Asia in general. World Without Walls was originally released in 1990, but is now being re-issued, principally for Internet distribution. The 10 themes they composed gravitate between African and Asian ethnic rhythms and melodies adorned with a lot of Hindu sounds and wrapped, as is the usual custom in Ancient Future, with sounds of multiple instruments that move the disk towards rock or jazz in certain moments (such as guitars, piano and synthesizers). The Hindu influence is especially present due to the contribution of Indian percussionist Zakir Hussain. Hussain is a musician of great prestige inside the musical circle of the members of Ancient Future, so his percussive embellishments fit perfectly with World Without Walls. Zakir Hussain participates in the pieces entitled ‘Lakshmi Rocks Me,’ ’14 Steps,’ and ‘Gopi Song.’ World Without Walls has a very appropriate title. Music is, without doubt, an authentic universal language and Ancient Future shows it, by mixing in such a stunning manner so many styles that appear antagonistic, that nevertheless, they insert perfectly upon filtration through the group’s sieve .” – Jorge Sergio Iglesias, Articmist.org, (Aug 2011)

“21 years after the release of the already classic ‘World Without Walls’ the original lineup of ‘Ancient Future’ reunited in a series of shows at Yoshi’s in SF On this occasion Capitol/EMI Records launched the first digital version of this influential album that marked not just the career of the band and its members but represents a reference of the World Music phenomenon. The original album released in 1990 features 10 songs that mix Oriental, Celtic and African inspired rhythms with modern jazzy beats, and subdued lyricism with melodic creativity. As the title of the album suggests there’s no walls between musical influences but we can say that there’s no wall between these virtuoso performers, whose joyful interplay delights the listener with a fusion of exotic and western harmonies that sound like chamber music. The three composers of the album Jim Hurley on violin, Matthew Montfort guitars, Doug McKeehan piano, synthesizers looked for inspiration to ancient lands of musical tradition , bringing the African, Balinese, Chinese, Indian, Middle eastern sounds into a modern setting that preserves their original savor. It is a surprising and enchanting synthesis of classical, modern and exotic crafted with the art of a jeweler. Talking drum, bells, chimes, dumbek, udu, bass drums, sleigh bells and tabla (played by Zakir Hussein on 3 songs) keep the rhythm alive and fresh, while organically blending into the compositions. An album that is also inviting to listen more from what this legendary band has produced over the years.” – Stephen Bocioaca, World Jazz News (July 2011)

“Bloody hell, get me some Alzheimer’s drugs, will you? Ancient Future was on Narada’s Sona Gaia subsidiary with a world beat album that was ahead of it’s time and they were hanging out with Zappa’s world beat buddies and I don’t remember any of it? Each track has a different taste and a different texture making this a world beat travelogue that gleefully genre bends whatever the crew felt like with a merger of hillbilly and Indian music, the sound of an African traffic jam and more stuff that tastes good without the over riding vibe of being good for you. And it’s not empty calories either. No wonder the group labored so long and so hard to get Capitol to reissue this, it’s time. More bloody hell, new copies of this are going for over $200 on Amazon! How did I miss this? This is the world beat/jazz/pop album for people that shy away from things called world beat and jazz. Fun stuff throughout that still sounds fresh and in the moment today.” – Chris Spector, Midwest Record (July 2011)

First Video from Reunion Tour Supports World Without Walls

June 25, 2011 by  

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First Video from Reunion Tour Supporting ‘World Without Walls’ by Ancient Future on Capitol Records…

14 Steps youtube video

Live Version of ’14 Steps’ from Ancient Future’s ‘World Without Walls’ Reunion Concert at Yoshi’s SF, 6/7/11

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ro0VAo7a9BY

July 26, 2011, Radio Add Date Announced for the Digital Release of this Classic 1990 Recording by Ancient Future featuring Tabla Master Zakir Hussain

Radio Can Download Broadcast Quality Tracks

Radio Can Download Broadcast Quality Tracks

World Without Walls CD Cover Art

On June 7, 2011, the exact lineup of Ancient Future that performed on the band’s influential World Without Walls and Asian Fusion recordings reunited to perform for the first time in over 15 years at Yoshi’s San Francisco and other venues. That same day to celebrate the reunion, Capitol/EMI Records released the first ever digital version of Ancient Future’s classic 1990 World Without Walls recording. It is available now for download purchase at all major digital retailers such as iTunes and Amazon.com MP3 Store.

As its name suggests, World Without Walls by Ancient Future depicts a musical world without borders. This classic 1990 recording features Ancient Future members Matthew Montfort (bandleader, guitars), Jim Hurley (violin), Doug McKeehan (keys), and Ian Dogole (percussion), plus special guest performances by world music legend and tabla master Zakir Hussain. The inviting melodies and ingenious use of ethnic textures make World Without Walls one of Ancient Future’s most accessible and broadly appealing releases ever.

The first video for the release is a live version of Montfort’s ’14 Steps,’ a jazzy romp with a funky fourteen beat Indian groove. It was recorded on June 7, 2011, at Ancient Future’s ‘World Without Walls’ Reunion Concert at Yoshi’s San Francisco, and is available for viewing at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ro0VAo7a9BY.

Digital promo including audio is now available to the media upon request. Reviewers should contact Ancient-Future.Com Records at info@ancient-future.com. Radio programmers are encouraged to visit http://airplaydirect.com/music/AncientFuture for broadcast files. The radio add date is July 26, 2011, for reports to the CMJ New World and Zone Music Reporter charts.

Tabla master Zakir Hussain

Tabla master Zakir Hussain

Ancient Future Band Biography

Ancient Future Photo Circa 1990 by Irene Young (Links to 864 x 570 Screen Version)

Ancient Future circa 1990. Photo by Irene Young. Pictured: Matthew Montfort (guitars), Jim Hurley (violin), Doug McKeehan (keys), Ian Dogole (percussion).

BILLBOARD calls the group “trendsetters” for contributing to the emerging movement known as world fusion music, a term Ancient Future leader Matthew Montfort coined at the band’s inception for music that blends musical ideas from many different cultures. Formed in 1978, Ancient Future is the world’s first and longest running ensemble dedicated exclusively to the mission of the creation of world fusion music. Their original music is an exhilarating fusion of exciting rhythms and sounds from around the globe that combines contemporary jazz and rock with the irresistible rhythms of African, Balinese, Indian, Middle Eastern and South American percussion, the rich harmonies of Europe, and the beautiful melodies of Asia.

In the years since the initial CD release of World Without Walls, Ancient Future has expanded from its core lineup through collaborations with noted masters of various world music traditions who are now an integral part of what is today more than just a band. Ancient Future has grown to become a large chamber ensemble of more than thirty performers from around the world with over a dozen smaller ensembles within it, enabling Ancient Future to realize its core mission of creating world fusion music

Digital Release Specifications

World Without Walls 1 Sheet

World Without Walls 1 Sheet (864 k, streaming audio)

Original Release Date: June 7, 2011

Label: Capitol Catalog

UPC: 5099908369956

Radio Add Date: July 26, 2011

Radio Promo Service: http://airplaydirect.com/music/AncientFuture

Reviewer Promo Service: info@ancient-future.com

Copyright: © 2011 Narada Productions, Inc

Genres: International/World/Jazz/General

Total Length: 44:26

Credits: Matthew Montfort (scalloped fretboard guitar, steel string guitars, electric guitars, classical guitar, guitar synthesizers, mandolin), Jim Hurley (acoustic violins, Zeta electric violin, steel string guitar), Doug McKeehan (piano, synthesizers), and Ian Dogole (dumbek, talking drum, congas, bongos, udu, shaker, bass drums, cymbal, sleigh bells, kendang, kajar, ceng-ceng, bells, chimes), Zakir Hussain (tabla, kanjira), Gary Brown (fretless electric bass), Jeff Narell (steel drums), Vince Delgado (tambourine), Jack Dorsey (drum set), Bill Douglass (acoustic bass, Chinese flutes), and Bruce Kaphan (recording engineer, shaker).

Track List: (>audio. Listen to songs and excerpts.)

  1. Lakshmi Rocks Me (Jim Hurley. 2:52). Sample MP3 (excerpt) (992K). (1:01).
  2. Dance of the Rain Forest (Matthew Montfort. 4:45).
  3. April Air (Doug McKeehan. 3:57).
  4. 14 Steps (Matthew Montfort. 4:30). Sample MP3 (excerpt) (1MB). (1:07)
  5. End of the Beginning (Matthew Montfort. 5:15).
  6. Turkish Taffy (Doug McKeehan. 4:55).
  7. Alap (Matthew Montfort. 1:10).
  8. Indra’s Net (Jim Hurley. 4:53).
  9. Nyo Nyo Gde (Matthew Montfort. 4:00).
  10. Gopi Song (Doug McKeehan. 7:46).

Quotes

Asian Fusion Media Report

World Without Walls Media Report (6.4 MB)

“World Without Walls speaks to a cultural enrichment…a melding of world culture with Ancient Future’s own lush sense of melody and rhythmic drive.” – John Diliberto, Jazziz (Nov 91)

“Ancient Future masterfully blends cultural music with contemporary rock and the result is superb. For those who have a taste for exquisite instrumental, you will not be disappointed with this addition to your library. Ancient Future has a great following and for just cause. It is clear that Matthew Montfort’s intense studies of cultural music shines and his artistic blend of old world instruments and modern technology shatters esoteric stereotypes. Ancient Future’s music is as intense as history itself, yet none less than simple pleasure to play.” – Donald A. Thomas, Jr., Revolutionary Concepts (December 90)

“The matrix of panpipes in ‘Dance of the Rain Forest’ is what would’ve happened if Steve Reich were Quechua, and the dumbek in ‘Turkish Taffy’ is fiery enough to induce spontaneous belly dancing. Extra credit to Zakir Hussain, whose tabla playing lends legitimacy to the Indian airs. Basically this is Shadowfax with teeth.” – Michael Bloom, Boston Rocks (April 91)

“Long before the phrase ‘world music’ became ubiquitous, Matthew Montfort and his group Ancient Future were boldly melding Asian and western music. Over the years they’ve carved out a respectable niche for themselves in the netherworld of alternative music; ‘World Without Walls’ just might kick them into the mainstream. There are enough ear treats to please just about anyone. From the soaring ‘Lakshmi Rocks Me’ to the beautiful scalloped fretboard guitar work on ‘Alap’, and the exquisite ‘Nyo Nyo Gde,’ ‘World Without Walls’ is well worth hearing.” – Mark Nelson, MIDI Guitar (Spring 91)

“Ancient Future makes ancient musical traditions of the world accessible to western ears. Ancient Future has found a winning mixture of sound to please the popular listener. World Without Walls envisions a civilization that values and respects all cultures. The wealth of World culture has yet to be uncovered. World without Walls is a great step in this direction. It makes me think of Ancient Persia, Middle Eastern cultures, Islamic Art, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.” – New World (April 91)

“Ancient Future, one of the first proponents of world music, is back. Each piece involves a complex mixture of musical traditions, including jazz, electronic, and exotic instruments. You will hear influences from many countries, all creating the texture of a musical world without walls.” – Carol Wright, NAPRA Trade Journal (Spring 91)

“This recording breaks down many walls. It’s a bridge from ancient musical traditions to modern music culture, from folk tradition to modern customs. The scalloped fret guitar, sitar, congas, dumbek, tabla, African talking drum, and other exotic instruments are combined with the synthesizer in a way that expands contemporary composition. The music flows in driving rhythms, fast, and fashioned after popular patterns. But it has the soul of Indian and Middle Eastern music. Lakshmi Rocks Me soars with acoustic violin backed by Zakir Hussain’s renowned tabla playing. Dance of the Rainforest begins with a short gamelan prelude. Then it sways into a world fusion waltz. It’s a playful metaphor celebrating the rainforest. Ancient Future takes great inspiration from Classical Indian music and transforms it somehow into the energy of world fusion. This music wakes you up. It’s refreshingly new without a hint of nostalgia.” – Kathleen Lawson, Well Being Journal (April/May 91)

“Worldbeatnik Alert: Ancient Future have a jazzy side that keeps things interesting, sorta like a more energetic version of Oregon. Their latest cross-cultural exploration, WORLD WITHOUT WALLS mixes Celtic, Arabic, and Asian modes to create a soundtrack for your next mind vacation, to plagiarize a phrase.” – J. Poet, Ward Music Monthly (June 91)

“This is a wonderful collection of original tunes that reflect the influence of many cultures, most notably that of India, as well as the nuances of the Orient. The artists are a seasoned group of professional musicians who produce a seemingly effortless fusion of Eastern melodies and meters with Western instrumentation and a jazzy groove. The song Turkish Taffy is a great example; the melody line definitely inspires visions of old Istanbul, while the tune builds up a swinging groove that climaxes in a fiery electric guitar solo at the end that would please fans of rock guitarist Santana. Virtuoso violin playing by band member (and composer) Jim Hurley, Zakir Hussain on tabla and assorted Indian percussion instruments give the tunes an authenticity and driving force. A delightful album.” – Heartsong Review, Spirit of Change (Winter 91-92)

“Ancient Future was one of the first groups to explore the idea of World Fusion music. Their most recent effort, the aptly-titled ‘World Without Walls,’ showcases Montfort’s scalloped, steel-string & classical guitars with spirited support throughout the ten pieces. There is the lyrical piano/steel drum interplay of ‘April Air,’ the acoustic sensitivity of ’14 Steps’, the fluid electric violin and busy bass on ‘Dance of the Rain Forest,’ and the dazzling sound of Zakir Hussain’s tabla playing which adds zest to the lively opener ‘Lakshmi Rocks Me’ and two other selections.” – Lloyd Barde, Common Ground (Spring 93)

“World Without Walls opens with ‘Lakshmi Rocks Me.’ Composer Jim Hurley’s violin leads before a very fast, high tabla played by master drummer Zakir Hussain. Matthew Montfort plays a sweet, Southern electric guitar on ‘Dance of the Rainforest.’ The watery feeling winds out to an Allman Brothers-like easy landing. Montfort joins Hussain on ’14 Steps’ with pensive ruminations on his lovely scalloped fretboard guitar. With Hurley on acoustic violin, they play a dynamic, perfectly entrained tabla/guitar/violin raga-jam, linked note for note until the violin takes off wailing against the backdrop of Bill Douglass’ soothing acoustic bass line. On ‘Indra’s Net’ Doug McKeehan’s gentle synthesizer and piano paint stars across the blackness of the acoustic bass, while composer Hurley’s violin streaks the sky.” – Diane Darling, Green Egg (Spring, 94)

 

Purple Raga: Indian Raga through the Music of Jimi Hendrix

June 15, 2011 by  

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Issue 12. Fall 2009: Purple Raga – Indian Raga Through the Music of Jimi Hendrix

Welcome to the World Rhythms News, an infrequent newsletter dedicated to world music education. This issue highlights a GuitarPlayer.Com lesson from Matthew Montfort teaching Indian raga through the music of Jimi Hendrix and offers details about the World Music Workshop scheduled for New Year’s Day Weekend 2010 at Esalen. To subscribe, use the form below. Follow instructions thereafter, and make sure to check “World Music Education” in the “Interests” section of the sign up process.

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In this issue:

Indian Raga Through the Music of Jimi Hendrix


In Guitar Player Magazine: Matthew Montfort Explains Jimi Hendrix Raga

Download Guitar Player Magazine Story on Matthew MontfortDownload Guitar Player Magazine Story on Matthew Montfort

MatthewMontfortGuitarPlayerMag.pdf (1.4 MB). This five page story from the December 2009 collectible commemorative Les Paul issue of Guitar Player Magazine includes a full page feature with a photo of Matthew Montfort superimposed over psychedelic artwork portraying Jimi Hendrix, an interview with Matthew Montfort about the scalloped fretboard guitar, Indian raga, and their relationship to the music of Jimi Hendrix, a video hosted by GuitarPlayer.Com of Matthew Montfort performing his ‘Purple Raga’ composition live at Ancient Future’s 30th Anniversary Concert, and a lesson on GuitarPlayer.Com created by Matthew Montfort entitled “The Music of Jimi Hendrix Applied to Indian Raga,” which explains the musical concepts behind the ‘Purple Raga’ track on ‘Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar.’

Purple Raga

Guitar Player Video

Play Guitar Player.Com Video

Live version of ‘Purple Raga’ from Matthew Montfort’s debut recording, Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar

The Music of Jimi Hendrix Applied to Indian Raga

By Matthew Montfort (from GuitarPlayer.Com)

I began to think about the intersection between raga the music of Jimi Hendrix after seeing a photograph of Jimi in the front row of an Indian music concert, his mouth agape in awe of what he was experiencing.

One day a student of mine was having difficulty improvising over the chord changes in “Purple Haze,” and I had the idea that the techniques learned by studying Indian music would help my student to improvise more effectively.

An Indian raga is a melodic recipe for a mood: a “super scale” using a set of notes in ascending and descending order, a hierarchy of note importance, and a key phrase that shows the heart of the movement of the raga. I was inspired to create a modern raga based on the guitar solo in “Purple Haze.” Before I explain how to use this raga to create your own music that is tonally related to Hendrix’s solo, some explanation of the Indian system of music is necessary.

North Indian raga uses a system of solfeggio (i.e “do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do”) known as sargam with seven note names per octave, starting with Sa (the tonic and main drone note) followed by Re (2), Ga (3), ma (4), Pa (5), Dha (6) and Ni (7). Indian music does not utilize the concept of perfect pitch where absolute note values are recognized. Sa can be set to any note, and is normally set to the most convenient place for the instrumentalist or vocalist. Just as in Western music, there are 12 main tones per octave, but there are also microtonal ornaments similar to the use of quarter tones in the blues. Indian raga uses a non-tempered tuning system where Sa and Pa are tuned a perfect just fifth apart. The other notes are close to the Western just tuning system, but the tuning of individual notes can vary from raga to raga. The word komal refers to the minor or flat version of a note, shuddh refers the natural or major version, and tivra refers to sharp or augmented version. Sa (1) and Pa (5) cannot be modified. Re (2), Ga (3) Dha (6) and Ni (7) can be either shuddh Re (M2), Ga (M3) Dha (M6) or Ni (M7), which correspond to the Western major intervals, or komal re (m2), ga (m3) dha (m6) or ni (m7), which correspond to the Western minor intervals. The note ma (4) can be either shuddh ma (P4), the natural perfect 4th, or tivra Ma (#4), which corresponds to the Western augmented fourth. In a common North Indian notation system, capital letter abbreviations are used for the version of the note that is highest in pitch and lower case letters for the note version lowest in pitch. For example, using this notation system, this is how a Western chromatic scale would be written:

                        .
S r R g G m M P d D n N S

Purple Raga Phrases

To improvise within Purple Raga, one should first practice the ascending and descending scales. Notice that the patterns zig zag: they don’t simply go straight up and down a scale. This allows a raga to prescribe more than simply a mode and to include melodic instructions within the rule set. The heart phrase exemplifies an important melodic pattern for the raga. Try playing sections of the heart phrase in various octaves to emphasize the “purple” part of the raga.

Ascending Scale MIDI Sound

Descending Scale MIDI Sound

Heart Phrase MIDI Sound

While one could play “Purple Haze” using these melodic instructions, an unlimited number of improvisations in a similar tonal mood are also possible. On my Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar release, rather than playing “Purple Haze,” I instead improvised a contemporary interpretation of the North Indian musical form known as alap (a rubato exploration of melody without rhythmic accompaniment). Each raga has a patron god or goddess, which in this case has to be the god of rock guitar. So I serenaded to the spirit of Hendrix while improvising within the raga rules I created inspired by the guitar solo in “Purple Haze.” Underneath, the didjeridu drones a chord in overtones: a D7#9, also known as the “Jimi Hendrix chord.”

Listen to Purple Raga

Seven Serenades CD Cover

Matthew Montfort (>audio)

“Purple Raga” (Montfort) 5:59. Matthew Montfort (scalloped fretboard guitar), Alan Tower (didjeridu). © 2008 Ancient Future Music (BMI). All rights reserved. From Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar by Matthew Montfort. (AF 2008). $17.98: Buy 1 Now. (Checkout Option Sale!: 3 CDs for $30).

 

About Matthew Montfort

Matthew Montfort holds a B.A. in World Music and Composition and an M.A. in Arts and Media Technology from Antioch University. He is the leader of the world fusion music ensemble Ancient Future. A pioneer of the scalloped fretboard guitar (an instrument combining qualities of the South Indian vina and the steel string guitar), Montfort spent three months in intensive study with vina master K.S. Subramanian in order to fully apply the South Indian gamaka (note-bending) techniques to the guitar. His debut solo CD, ‘Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar’ was released in 2009 to rave reviews on Ancient-Future.Com Records with national distribution through ADA/Ryko/WEA. He has performed concerts world wide, including at the Festival Internacional de la Guitarra on the golden coast of Spain near Barcelona.

Rhythm Training Material

Book

Ancient Traditions--Future Possibilities Book

Book/Enhanced Audio CD Set with MIDI Soundfiles:$52.95 (SALE! Normally $69.95): Buy 1 Now.

Quotes

“You’ve heard Afro-Pop, sitar, gamelan and world music for years. But do you know what they are and how they work? Better yet, would you like to play those twisted cross-rhythms and melodies? In Ancient Traditions–Future Possibilities, Matthew Montfort, a founding member of the world music band Ancient Future, has put together the book for people who want to dig into world music with both hands. The first section of the book covers traditional music of West Africa, Bali and India with theories and exercises. Wherever possible, Montfort has provided beat counts alongside the standard musical notation so even if you can’t read music, you can still learn the rhythms.The last section of the book mixes patterns from different cultures, demonstrating the powerful music these simple exercises can generate.” – Richard Kadrey, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE.

“A hands-on exploration of Balinese, African, and Indian rhythms that should appeal to all musicians. One needn’t play percussion instruments, or any instruments at all, for that matter, to use and benefit from the book.” – DRUMS AND DRUMMING

“Very highly recommended for any instrumentalists hoping to expand their rhythmic horizons. If you’ve never investigated the beautiful clash of African polyrhythm, the incredible interlocking textures of Balinese music, or the complex metric structure of Indian classical music, check out Ancient Traditions–it will blow your mind and deepen your groove.” – GUITAR PLAYER MAGAZINE

“If you’re tired of programming your drum machine with the same old 4/4 back-beat, or you want to sharpen your rhythmic chops, this book is highly recommended.” – ELECTRONIC MUSICIAN

Melodic Training Material

Hendrix Raga Article

Now on GuitarPlayer.Com: “The Music of Jimi Hendrix Applied to Indian Raga” by Matthew Montfort

Free Educational Liner Notes

Seven Serenades Digital Liner Notes

Digital Liner Notes (1.7 MB)

18 pages of educational liner notes including sheet music and in depth explanations of melodic concepts utilized in world music.

Quotes

Download the 65 page report of media placements for ‘Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar.’ Complete reviews, photos, and links to online reviews. MediaMatthewMontfort.pdf (3.9 MB).

“A true guitar wizard.” – Jello Biafra, ALTERNATIVE TENTACLES RECORDS

“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’s playing is always impeccable, filled with subtle emotion and even wanderlust. I don’t know of anyone who plays quite like Matthew. His mastery of the scalloped fretboard guitar seems unequaled. For a richly rewarding journey into the magic of acoustic world fusion music, look no farther than ‘Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar.’” – Steve Ryals, FRESH TRACKS

“Leader of the world-music band Ancient Future since 1978, Matthew Montfort has adapted many string instrument styles – from sitar to zither – to his guitar. His special scalloped fretboard allows him to tweak the strings in unique ways, but his virtuosity is a lot more than technical.” – David Rubien, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

“It isn’t every day that acoustic guitarists make their instrument sound a lot like an Indian sitar, but that is exactly what Matthew Montfort accomplishes on the instrumental ‘Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar.’ Through it all, Montfort demonstrates that even though he has considerable chops and technical prowess, he is much more interested in feeling and expression than technique. This 56-minute CD is an adventurous, consistently engaging demonstration of what Montfort can accomplish on the scalloped fretboard guitar.” – Alex Henderson, ALL MUSIC GUIDE

“Though he plays guitar, Montfort’s music isn’t merely guitar music; it’s a sonic environment that features a guitar. Strong Indian and Balinese influences permeate these seven exotic soundscapes. Beautifully recorded, this sumptuous music creates a unique wall of sound that you won’t soon forget.” – Steven Stone, VINTAGE GUITAR MAGAZINE

All compositions, recordings, video, and text in this article are ©, Patent 2009 Ancient Future Music. All rights reserved.