Ancient Future Times

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April 2009 Issue
Welcome to the Ancient Future Times
Email newsletter of the World Fusion Music Ensemble Ancient Future

In This Issue:
Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar
•CD Spotlight

•Everyone Wins a Free Liner Note Download with Sheet Music!

Future Ancient History
•30th Year Recording Series Update

Spring Soirees
•April 25 through June 25 Concerts

Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar

by Matthew Montfort

Seven Serenades CD Cover

Matthew Montfort - Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar

Ancient-Future.Com 2008. Digipak CD- $17.98: Buy 1 Now.

Seven Serenades Digital 1 Sheet
Free Digital 1 Sheet (552 k, streaming audio)

This debut recording by Ancient Future leader Matthew Montfort showcases his pioneering work on the scalloped fretboard guitar, a special modified instrument able to produce ornaments more characteristic of the sitar. While previously known more for his compositions for the trendsetting world music group Ancient Future, this first solo effort features his improvisational music.


“Matthew Montfort conjures lovely Asian zither-like inflections with a scalloped fretboard guitar.”

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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 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.

“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.” Jello Biafra, (seminal punk rock singer, Dead Kennedy front man turned spoken word activist, politician) ALTERNATIVE TENTACLES RECORDS, Sept. 06, 2008

“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

The Scalloped Fretboard Guitar

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Scalloped fretboards are not new to string instruments. Many lutes have scalloped fretboards, some of purely ornamental nature. However, scalloping a fretboard on a guitar in order to facilitate note bending is a relatively new phenomenon.

Montfort is a pioneer among guitarists who have had their fretboards scalloped in order to play various forms of world music that require intricate note-bending ornaments while still being able to play chords. Montfort immersed himself in an intensive study with vina master K.S. Subramanian in order to fully apply the South Indian gamaka (note-bending) techniques to the guitar. The method is based on pulling the strings across the frets in order to raise the pitch.

"The mind-bending playing abilities of guitar virtuoso, Matthew Montfort, stem from the note-bending capabilities of the scalloped fretboard guitar. This produces a different sound than the more familiar guitar, because the fretboard is carved out, so the fingers only touch the strings." – Matthew Forss,

Seven Serenades Concept

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Born of an emergency drive-by serenade rendezvous. Seven serenades following the muse on the path of improvisation, inspired and informed by the great musical traditions, but not bound by them. Improvisations becoming compositions of longing captured at the moment of conception.

“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

“Montfort's willingness to let the music just "flow", without forcing it to move in a particular direction, shows more skill at improvisation than many self-proclaimed improv "masters" have. A wonderful musical excursion that is all based on the moment as the motive... this gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as well as our "PICK" of this issue for "best guitar improvisation".”– Rotcod Zzaj, IMPROVIJAZZATION

“Matthew Montfort is a true guitar master. His instrument conveys the smallest nuances of the artist’s emotions. He masterfully combines a perfect performance with Eastern meditative approach. The artist is not afraid to improvise and to blend various genres in his guitar music. His “Purple Raga” is adorned with the captivating drones of an Australian didgeridoo. I could name this composition as world raga rock. In general Matthew Montfort’s music goes beyond any boundaries. He is truly one of the world’s best guitarists. The first solo effort of Matthew Montfort is a real handbook for guitarists and a great pleasure for the ears of all guitar music lovers!”

“The most beautiful, soulful guitar I have ever heard!!”– Chandi Devi, (Listen to her 3/25/09 interview with Montfort on

Ancient-Future.Com Records Logo

On Sale: 3 Releases Celebrating 30 Years of World Music for $30

Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar by Matthew Montfort. Ancient-Future.Com AF 2008. 6-panel Digipak CD: $17.98. Buy 1 Now. (>YTmusic).Matthew Montfort - Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar

Checkout Option Sale! 3 CDs for $30! Purchase 'Seven Serenades' and you will have the option of adding the following releases for a total of $30 for all three!

Seven Serenades CD CoverPlanet Passion CD CoverSangria CD Cover

Planet Passion by Ancient Future. Ancient-Future.Com AF-2001. (>YTmusic.) Ancient Future - Planet Passion (Remastered)

Sangria by Mariah Parker. Ancient-Future.Com Records AF-2017. (>YTmusic). Mariah Parker - Sangria

All of the releases are distributed in the USA through Ryko/WEA, and are available through your local record shop, so please ask them to carry these!

Contest: Everyone Wins a Free Liner Note Download with Sheet Music!

Our Oprah-inspired contest is the easiest we've ever had! No, we aren't giving everyone a free car simply for reading the newsletter, but this is a contest everyone can win. Simply click on the link below and get free digital liner notes to 'Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar.' This extensive 18 page document includes lessons in Indian raga and sheet music from the recording! Previously available ONLY to the media, this is the first release to the public, available exclusively to subscribers to this newsletter!

Seven Serenades Digital Liner Notes
Digital Liner Notes (1.7 MB, Subcribers Only)

Contests open to subscribers only:

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Future Ancient History: 30th Year Recording Series

Ancient Future History Article Future Ancient History Article
Digital Article on Ancient Future History (1.5 MB, streaming audio)

To commemorate 30 years of world fusion music, a 30th Year Recording Subscription Series is in the works. We have raised 1% of our project goal. Thanks go out to the following people: Vincent Martel, Cliff Sears, Alan Moore of Musicians for Peace, and Leslie Lawton.

While we are raising money, we are making available archival recordings as mp3 files exclusively to supporters of the project so that there is instant gratification for participating in the project. The first archival recording has just been posted.

We need to raise 10% of the goal to begin recording. To that end, there are four supporter packages available. You can be a virtual fly-on-the-wall during the recording process through the Recording Newsletter Package ($10, Buy 1 Now). This is the way to get the secret stories involving famous singers and studio antics that no one else gets, plus you get a 30% discount on the final release. The Download Supporter Package ($25, Buy 1 Now) includes the newsletter plus downloads of archival recordings and new music as it is recorded. The Limited Edition CD Sponsor Package ($50, Buy 1 Now) includes all of the above plus an exclusive limited edition CD. Finally, the Honorary A & R Representative Package ($75, Buy 1 Now) includes all of the above plus a DVD with video and hi-rez audio.

Spring Soirees