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How much noise do you think two saxophonists and a guitarist can make? Okay, now imagine ten times that. Imagine a screeching, ululating, fuzzed-out roar that reduces your teeth to shards and your internal organs to pulsing red mush. That's the sound of Borbetomagus. That, and much more. An upstate New York trio, Borbetomagus has been blurring the lines between free jazz, electronic noise and sound-as-weapon since the late '70s. The group's albums have titles like Barbed Wire Maggots and Snuff Jazz, and live up to them. The three men involved — saxophonists Jim Sauter and Don Dietrich, and guitarist Donald Miller — have sworn in numerous interviews that when they're at full crank, each man blasting through enough pedals to keep the most gear-happy metal guitarist shredding joyously for weeks, they can't tell who's making what sound. And yet, this is no mere caveman assault. These guys know exactly what they're doing. Masters of their instruments, they synthesize decades of avant-garde technique into unique and utterly personal music-making that combines emotional catharsis and volume-based assault with real beauty. Listen carefully, and you'll recognize a lifetime of thoughtful interaction underpinning their exchanges and collective playing. You've never heard anything like this.

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Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

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Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.