Matthew Burtner: listening room

Burtner's music evokes ice crystals and wind that transform into a blinding light, ... and an overwhelming sense of movement!."
Jorgen Mathisen, Nordlandsposten, Norway

"some of the most eerily effective electroacoustic music I've heard"
Andy Hamilton, The Wire, UK

"There is a horror and beauty in this music that is most impressive"
Crystal Elizabeth, 21st Century Music

"There is weather in his compositions, as well as landscape: open,
brooding, sometimes ominous, often wintry....His compositions
have a way of insinuating themselves into your mind. Listen to them
enough and you begin to think and take in the world as he does. You
hear a gust of wind or the far-off sound of machinery and you think
that sounds like something from a Burtner composition."
- Dale Keiger, Johns Hopkins Magazine
from: Matthew Burtner: the Composer in Five Prose Movements
audio publications
(click the cover for more information)
solo CD/DVDs
Metasaxophone Colossus (2004)
Innova Records # 620, USA
order it now
Portals of Distortion (1999)
Innova Records #512, USA
order it now
Signal Ruins (2008)
EcoSono, USA
order it now
compilation CDs/DVDs

The Art of the Virtual Rhythmicon (2006)
Innova Records 120
"Spectral for 0" and "Spectral for 60"
with other works commissioned for the Sonic Circuits Festival

Remedy (2005)
Centaur Records
Morris Palter, percussion
Broken Drum

  The WIRE Tapper 12 (2004)
250th issue Anniversary CD
Delta 2

Computer Music Journal DVD (2003)
MIT Press, CMJ-27-4, USA
Noisegate 67
Arctic Contrasts (2001)
Euridice Records # 012, Norway
MiN Ensemble
Incantations (1995)
DACO Records #102, Germany
Dorothea von Albrecht, solo cello
Incantation 1

MP3 excerpts from selected compositions

That which is bodiless is reflected in bodies (2004) for Tibetan bowl and 8-channel computer-generated sound 
mp3 (3MB)
Fragments From Cold (2006) for cello and electroacoustics 
Delta 2 (2004) for electric feedback metasaxophone 
Endprint (2004) for nine tenor saxophones  
Kuik (2003-2006) new media opera for voices, percussion, video, computer sound, and interactive media 
mp3 #1 (6.3MB)
Windcombs/Imaq (2003-2005) new media opera for voices, instrumental ensemble, video, computer sound and interactive media 
mp3 #1 (1.5MB)
mp3 #2 (2.7MB)
Grid2 (2006) for Metasax&DRUMthings 
mp3 (5.4MB)
Signal Ruins (2000) for piano, percussion and electronics  
mp3 #1 (1.2MB)
, mp3 #2 (2.9MB),
Somata/Asomata (2001) for string quartet and electronics  
mp3 (1.5MB)
Variants (2001) for piccolo and low ensemble
mp3 #1 (1.5MB) mp3 #2 (1.7MB)
(dis)Integrations (2004) for cello, harpsichord and electronics  
mp3 (2125K)
(dis)Appearances (2003) for violin, electric violin and computer violin  
mp3 (2.1MB)
Animus/Anima (2001) for voice and electronics  
mp3 (5.4MB)
Broken Drum (2004) for brake drum and electronics
mp3 (2MB)
Noisegate 67 (1999) for computer metasaxophone
mp3 (2125K)
S-Morphe-S (2002) for soprano saxophone and electronics 
mp3 (2.2MB)
Snowprints (2001) for flute, cello, piano and electronics  
mp3 #1 (1.5MB) , mp3 #2 (2MB)
Portals of Distortion (1998) for nine tenor saxophones 
mp3 (2125K)
Views of a Landscape (1996) for soprano voice and piano trio
mp3 #1 (940K), mp3 #2 (940K)
Incantation 1 (1994) for amplified cello and computer-generated tape
mp3 (2156K)
Variants (1997) for piccolo and low ensemble
mp3 (960K) , mp3 #2 (768K)
Split Voices (1998) for tenor saxophone and computer-generated tape
mp3 #1 (4109K), mp3 #2 (2656K)
Mists (1996) for computer noise controller and stone trio
mp3 (939K)
Sikuigvik (1998) for piano and ensemble
mp3 #1 (1875K), mp3 #2 (2807K)
Fern (1997) for computer-generated tape
mp3 (1297K)
Glass Phase (1998) for computer polyrhythmicon/electronics
mp3 (1593K)
Kunikluk (1999) for ensemble and noise generator
mp3 (1104K)
J'entends du Bruit... (1995) for computer-generated tape
mp3 (1859K)
Stone Phase (1999) for computer-generated tape
mp3 (1484K)
Cezanne Study (1996) for piano solo
mp3 (1070K)
Incantation S4 (1997) for tenor saxophone and computer-generated tape
mp3 (2672K)


available for Download at iTunes

Download the promotional CD 1-sheet pdf
Download the promotional Metasax 1-sheet pdf
Metasaxophone Colossus
Innova Records, #620, 2004
order now:

Web orders: and
Available internationally in Tower Records and other select music outlets
Mail orders: Innova Recordings, 332 Minnesota Street, E-145, St. Paul, MN 55101-1300
Telephone orders: 1-800-388-4487


Saxophone Journal, January/February, 2005
Review of Metasaxophone Colossus by Paul Wagner (this is an interesting and long review so please see the Saxophone Journal for the full text)
"The music on this CD is as mysterious and fascinating as the instrument itself...Matthew Burtner has out done himself with this CD and the Metasaxophone. It is a new instrument with new and exciting textures for the saxophone world. His innovative music will stimulate the listener's imagination. We can almost equate this CD to the mind blowing experience in 2001 Space Odyssey when the hero enters the monolith and the audience was treated to a great light show. Except in this case we are given a sound show that is equally mind blowing. From the singing bowl to the nine acoustic tenor saxophones there is nothing here that is humdrum, routine or expected. This CD will open the window to your imagination. Don't let this CD go by without hearing it at least a few dozen times."
link to the Saxophone Journal website

The Philler , Insound, November 2004
Review of Metasaxophone Colossus by Tom Schulte
"The title is a nod to the great saxophonist Sonny Rollins, but Burtner's saxophone gives us whistles and drones more than the round tones and melodies Rollins delivered on that excellent jazz primer Saxophone Colossus. Burtner here treats the ear more to improvisation on the use and shape of the sax perhaps more so than improvisations on a melody. "S-Morphe-S" is landscape-wide palette of tone coloring done with "singing bowl soprano saxophone hybrid computer instrument." The 9-minute piece is disembodied and floating."

link to the Philler's website

Scram Magazine, Issue No20, Hollywood, CA, November 2004
Review of Metasaxophone Colossus by Kim Cooper
"If Burtner’s saxes were flesh, they’d be bionic: wired for feedback loops and computerized programs aping Tibetan prayer bowls and imaginary strings. Burtner explores the outer edges of live performance potential, and makes some terrifically weird sounds along the way.
link to Scram magazine website

Metamorphic Journeyman Online Magazine, August 2004
Review of Metasaxophone Colossus
"For all the noise that makes up the core of this music, it is not only a thoroughly fascinating listening experience, but a curiously relaxing one - heck! when he's not building sonic monstrosities that could tear down the walls on Skull Island with one fell swoop, there are plenty of long moments here when his sound might blend well with the friction-less glistening glide of VIDNA OBMANA. When it does make the rare journey into rhythmic, full-frontal music, it uses all the power it can muster, creating an all-out barrage of rhythmic drumming spangled with a more traditional sax approach. One long piece here manages to be immensely busy, yet not so complex or abrasive as not to be easy to relax while listening to. Another piece pushes the edges into the discordant extremities of Japanese Noise - a cavorting angry discord which almost rivals ZORN's abrasive powerhouse approach. This is a complex album which ranges from one extreme to the other, yet always manages to be, well, extreme.
link to the text of the complete review

A & S Online,
August, 2004, Charlottesville, VA
Burtner Unites Saxophone, Computer: Latest CD Release Introduces New Instrument, by Ruth Hart
"...mesmerizing, enchanting, and perhaps most importantly, completely original..."
link to the complete article online

Vital Weekly ,
July, 2004, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Review of Metasaxophone Colossus
"So my love of the saxophone is virtually non-existent, what would I think of Burtner's CD? Pun intended, but it blew me away. The saxophone is indeed there to be recognized, but there is so much more happening, from the singing bowl like textures of the opening piece 'S-Morphe-S' to the walls of feedback of 'Delta' and the creepy dark textures of 'S-Trance-S'.”
link to the complete review text


Available from the Computer Music Journal / MIT Press
Order by phone:
TOLL FREE in the US and Canada: 1-800-405-1619 (9 am - 5 pm EST/EDT)
or 401-658-4226
* Order by e-mail:
Orders via e-mail:
* Order by mail:
The MIT Press
c/o Triliteral
100 Maple Ridge Drive
Cumberland, RI 02864


"Sikuigvik is a formidable listening experience, and the silence after the last chord was magical."
Fremover, Norway

"Sikuigvik evokes ice crystals and wind that transform into a blinding light. You can sense bird song, running water, waves, and an overwhelming movement!"
Jorgen Mathisen, Nordlandsposten

"En tvers gjennom vellykket CD - og et flott konsept!"
Kjell Moe, Pluto Kulturspeilet
Read the complete review online

Musik i Saerklass' review by Trond Erikson Kontraster med spenn

Order it now at Euridice:


This album is nearly sold out. Only a very few copies are available.
The digital album is available at iTunes.

"some of the most eerily effective electroacoustic music I've heard"
Andy Hamilton, The Wire

"There is a horror and beauty in this music that is most impressive."
Crystal Elizabeth, 20th Century Music

"Burtner's command of extended sounds of the saxophone is virtuosic... His saxophone playing blew me away."
Warren Burt, The Computer Music Journal

"Matthew Burtner has created a work of austere beauty in his new recording of six compositions for saxophones, computer generated sound, and stones. From the first moment, it is clear that Burtner's music reflects a unique and powerful imagination."
CDemusic Review

"Matthew Burtner's _Portals of Distortion_ should not be listened to alone! This Alaskan composer has created a truly scary tableau of sound: parts sound like giant turbo-charged mosquitos, others like fleets of helicopters whirling overhead! Ominous sounding throughout."
Porch Review/

"Chilling music created by an alchemy of modern technology and primitive musical sources such as stones. Inspired by the fearsome Alaskan wilderness, Burtner's creations are another example of inventive American composition."
Outsight Review/

"This is wonderful, evocative music...evoking thoughts of some neo-ritualistic ceremony with mantric rhythmical structures. Lovely stuff, bring warm clothing however."
Andrew Kettle, Atmospheric Disturbances, Australia,

"Fascinating and brilliantly composed!"
Dwight Loop, Earwaves

"Burtner's dirge-drone processing experiments blur the distinctions between acoustic and electronic idioms in fascinating ways. The title track features a nonet of saxophones that utilise circular breathing to generate a wave of vibrato that builds to a gradual crescendo and oscillating diminuendo. The computer-generated tape performance, "Fern," sounds like heavily filtered and processed choral music that builds in waves to peak in sudden industrial-strength crescendos. "Mists" is an evocative minimalist soundscape where the percussive sound of stones gets transformed into hissy waves of white noise. There's an almost operatic scope in the sonic blend of amplified reeds and computer generated tape in "Split Voices" and "Incantation S4," while "Glass Phase" uses glass percussion to confirm why the distinctions we make between acoustic and electronic sound fields are distortions that ultimately say more about a philosophy based upon binary opposites than they do about music or the nature of sound."
Exclaim! Canada’s Music and Culture Magazine, February 2000

"This innovative CD makes a valuable and unique contribution to the existing repertoire of electroacoustic music."
ARRAY (Journal of the International Computer Music Association)

Portals of Distortion is distribuited by Bayside
Web orders:,, or
Available internationally in Tower Records and other select music outlets
Mail orders: Innova Recordings, 332 Minnesota Street, E-145, St. Paul, MN 55101-1300
Telephone orders: 1-800-388-4487

Listen to examples from this CD on

available from DACO, Germany