World Without Walls
Featuring Tabla Master Zakir Hussain
by Ancient Future
Out of print. Rare collectable reconditioned CD.
Signed by Ancient Future's Matthew Montfort.
Featured Sound File
Lakshmi Rocks Me. (992K). (1:01).
As its name suggests, World Without Walls by Ancient Future depicts a musical world without borders. It features performances by such world music luminaries as Zakir Hussain, the master of the North Indian tabla. The inviting melodies and ingenious use of ethnic textures make this recording one of Ancient Future's most accessible and broadly appealing releases ever.
(Play all songs and excerpts.)
- Alap (Matthew Montfort. 1:10). . North Indian style intro, in this case performed on a scalloped fretboard guitar, which allows for greater note bending capabilities. ). Doug McKeehan (synthesizer).
- Indra's Net (Jim Hurley. 4:53).Closing the Curtains of Death, about drift net fishing. Doug McKeehan (piano, synthesizer), Jim Hurley (acoustic violins, steel string guitar), Ian Dogole (talking drum, bells, chrimes, cymbal), Bill Douglass (acoustic bass). . Inspired by Hindu mythology, this song was used as a soundtrack for a United Nations documentary film,
- Nyo Nyo Gde (Matthew Montfort. 4:00). . Balinese gamelan and Chinese flute meld in this ode to attributes of a goddess. Matthew Montfort (guitar sythesizers, mandolin), Ian Dogole (kendang, kajar, ceng-ceng), Bill Douglas (Chinese flutes).
- Gopi Song (Doug McKeehan. 7:46). . Inspired by North Indian sarangi master Pandit Ram Narayan. Features Zakir Hussain on tabla. Matthew Montfort (classical guitar), Doug McKeehan (piano, sythesizers), Jim Hurley (acoustic violin), Ian Dogole (shaker, bells, chimes), Jack Dorsey (cymbals), Bill Douglass (acoustic bass), Zakir Hussain (tabla).
"In June of this year the group (those five who performed World Without Walls and Asian Fusion recordings) reunited to perform for the first time in more than 15 years. Capitol/EMI Records chose to celebrate this reunion by releasing a digital version of World Without Walls and has made it available for download purchase through various retailers (iTunes and Amazon.com MP3 store to name a few). With 10 tracks coming in at a cost of about $10.00 it is money well spent. 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)
"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 Hussein) 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)
"Ancient Future plays a mix of Eastern and Western music in what is now coined world fusion. The core of the band is Ian Dogole (percussion), Jim Hurley (g, violin), Doug McKeehan (keyboards) and leader Matthew Montfort (g). The band was formed in 1978 and first released World Without Walls in 1990. It remains a refreshing collection of unifying sound that is timeless."– D. Oscar Groomes, O's Place Jazz Newsletter (Sept 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)
"Ancient Future's new CD “World Without Walls” is a wonderful collection of unusual music that has something for everyone. The music evokes the feelings one has when out in Nature. 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. On their website, they describe their music as: '...a place where new cross-cultural music and dance is created by learning from the world's great ancient traditions. Welcome to the #1 charting world music education site from Ancient Future, the world's first and longest running band dedicated exclusively to the mission of creating world fusion music.' 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. Subscriptions to their music are available from $15 to $75 and includes access to their musical archives. This is a large body of work, considering that they have made their first recording in 1978. I like their approach to their music which seems to be that of spreading the music first and making money as a byproduct of it. There is no crass commercialism here! I really enjoyed listening to their new CD and I enjoyed the way it made me feel as if I was in the middle of a forest, feeling Herne's presence all around me and smelling the woodsy, damp smell of earth and forest. You can go to their website to hear some of their music at: www.ancient-future.com."– Ariel Monserrat, Green Egg Magazine (Sept 2011)
"San Francisco Bay Area-based Ancient Future was all about “world fusion” before world music was even a genre. To honor the band’s reunion this summer after a 15-year performance hiatus, Capitol/EMI is giving their fifth and most accessible disc its first digital release. 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, and the record also is an early engineering/production credit for alternative pedal steeler Bruce Kaphan (who, alas, only plays shaker here). 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 followed 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, Jim Hurley, and Bruce Kaphan, masters 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. Lakshmi Rocks Me pretty much encapsulates this in titling and operation, an arrestingly paced complicatedly interlocking song of distinctively Eastern sounds that return to thematics far more readily than the ancient modes, such as Carnatic, are wont to do. We in the West are a good deal more at home with repetition than the elder intellectual traditions. On the other hand, Dance of the Rain Forest takes after rondo'ed and serial minimal patterns, turning that end effect over to the West now stepping eastward to shake hands. April Air has aubade-ish overtones, and 14 Steps dwells nicely in the fingerpicking styles so signatures in Euro-American root musics, Montfort's six-stringing a Balkan kind of Alex DeGrassi with violinist Jim Hurley not that far from Grapelli's gypsy sympathies. Here, as in two other songs, Zakir Hussain sits in on tablas, and, man, unless you wanna go back to Alla Rakha and a few others, there's just no topping that guy. I've long maintained that Carnatic musics are the zenith of sonic craftsmanship on the planet, and it takes a formidable degree of skill to attempt them. The inherent woodshedding is rigorous beyond belief (read Ravi Shankar's tales of his apprenticing for confirmation), and once you've decided you're going that route, there's no turning back, that's your life, as the heady elevation will admit of no slacking or indolence in the least degree. 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 fret board 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. Other cool instruments on this CD include banjo, dumbek, scalloped fret board guitar, electric guitar and more. 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. Their music has been described as 'an exhilarating fusion of exciting rhythms and sounds from around the globe.' 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)
"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)
"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, Music to Make Love By, Green Egg (Spring, 94)
"As the title suggests, 'World Without Walls' combines lively, tight melodies, mixed with ethnic textures. The pace is fast, the breaks are clean, and the combination of instruments makes this recording very original. Features Zakir Hussain on tabla. Alive & Inviting."– Joseph Meyer, The Mystic Trader (October 93)
"Ancient Future was one of the first groups to explore the idea of World Fusion music. Their first two releases, in '80 and '81, remain classic examples of the treasures to be found in combining the musical forms and rhythms of India with westernized themes. The later efforts explore more innovative terrain, as group leader (and Bay area resident) Matthew Montfort has now absorbed South American, Balinese, African & Tibetan influences. 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. The polished sound of Ancient Future has come a long way over the past decade without forsaking the roots and basis of their world music explorations." – Lloyd Barde, Common Ground (Spring 1993)
"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. The opening tune, Lakshmi Rocks Me, is another cooker which moves along with passion and grace worthy of the goddess' presence. 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)
"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 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)
"Ancient Future, one of the first proponents of world music, is back with its first release since 1988. 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. 'Music is meant to break down walls between people,' said the group's founder Matthew Montfort. 'The more people listen, the more tolerant they will be of each other.'"– Carol Wright, NAPRA Trade Journal (Spring 91)
"In this recent release Ancient Future has manifested in musical form the ideal expressed by the title of the album. Though it's is a mostly upbeat album, there are a few contemplative pieces that lend a nice balance. Gopi Song is a lush and beautifully tender ballad. A delightful album that can be listened to in many different contexts. It would be great for driving, dancing or to be carried away on an inner journey to places of joyful splendor."– Geoffrey Mays, Heartsong Review (Spring/Summer 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."– Kathleen Lawson, New World (April 91)
"For all that there are electric instruments on the latest Ancient Future disc (such as synthesizers, drum kits, electric guitars and violins), one comes away with an impression of acoustic fusion mixed with World Beat rhythms. Joining the more traditional instruments are a scatter of Chinese flutes, dumbeks, udos, tablas and the like which make for a fascinating array of sounds and take the music a little further than what one might usually expect from a New Age recording. And these are the real things, not samples. Ancient Future's Matthew Montfort also lends his guitar playing to David Michael's new disc, 'Edge of the Sky.' Both albums are beautifully produced. Ancient Future adds a little more punch to the proceedings. Both Ancient Future and David Michael & Friends offer an abundance of riches."– Charles de Lint, Dirty Linen (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. Guitar synthesizer shows up in a couple of places, most notably on the exotic 'Nyo Nyo Gde.' In order to maintain a live feel, no quantization was used. The results are spectacular. 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)
"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)
"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)
"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 90)