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Burtner, Matthew – “NOISE Plays Burtner” – [Innova/American Composers]

Thurston Hunger   10/15/2013   A Library, CD

Filing this under Matthew Burtner, the composer…fearing that if
we file this under “NOISE” KFJC is bound to erupt into a flame
war…”you call this noise, THIS is noise.” NOISE here is a
chamber sextet out of San Diego, and while they cover the
intricacies and peculiarities of Burtner’s work, at most they
push a sweet dissonance or a fragrant tension. The first suite,
Polyrhythmicana comes from a Burtner designed computer instrument
of the same name, inspired no less than by Henry Cowell and
Leonid Theremin and the 1920’s creation, the Rhythmicon. Pieces
are short and sharp, with punctation coming from flute, Partch-like
wooden xylophone (I guess synth’d), a violin/flute Psycho shower
staccato line, a slack drunk guitar, and finally on the Melody
Triangles, a place that feels like Tortoise goes to college.
Pretty… Next up Burtner’s homeland Alaska is etched out in
icy “Snowprints” digital and acoustic drone whiten the environs
while piano, violin, flute and more computerized shards play
that blood testing game from “The Thing.” The dis(Sensus) suite
closes things, crossbreeding jazz and glitch, interspersing
short cartoon breaks (I saw Daffy Duck during #11), quite a mix
of locomotion (#13 and #10 on the computer loops on a broken Broca
sample before a theremin/violin are scraped away by hyper wipers)
and more frozen moments (#12). Nice work.

-Thurston Hunger

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