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

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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:

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, 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

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 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

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:

Reviewer Promo Service:

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)


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, (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,, 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 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, (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: 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,, (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)

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