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The words loud and aggressive only begin to scratch the surface of this proto-punk free jazz band. Borbetomagus sets forth a sonic squall that obliterates and shocks the listener who comes to one of their concerts not knowing what to expect. While participants on the downtown New York free improv scene have long thrived on chaos and extremes in volume and timbre, none of them got there before this upstate New York ensemble. Borbetomagus has been pursuing their noisy muse since the late 1970s. Saxophonists Jim Sauter and Don Dietrich were childhood friends who, after meeting and sitting in with guitarist Donald Miller's band in New York City, the three formed Borbetomagus. Throughout the 1980s and a good part of the following decade, the group issued dozens of recordings on their own and other labels. Avant-rocker Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth) is a fan and collaborator who even substitutes for Miller on one recording. In the 2000s, the band still performs, though infrequently.
While the core trio listed above has been responsible for most of Borbetomagus's music, they have collaborated with Voice Crack, Tristan Honsinger, Peter Kowald and others. Sauter and Dietrich have also recorded a duo CD, and a collaborative CD with Thurston Moore. They are also considered widely influential on the Japanese noise music scene as demonstrated by the rerelease of their limited Live at Inroads cassette on CD by the Japanese label P.S.F. Records. They have also been influential on many American free jazz and noise musicians such as Thomas Ankersmit, Sonic Youth, Pelt and Kevin Drumm.
Sometime in the third grade, Ravi Binning's parents took him to a primordial sound meditation specialist. As a product of Indian and Irish heritage, he often is found in a grey realm between the traditional and the experimental. Now, at the age of 19, he is curating his first solo tour with Borbetomagus, after nearly a decade of involvment with the underground music world. On this tour, he will be exploring an instrument very dear to him--the harmonium, matched with primitive electronics in an attempt to reach the same essence he became in tune with in his first spiritual experiences.
Ars Nova Workshop is a Philadelphia nonprofit jazz and experimental music presenting organization. As a facilitator between artists and their audiences, Ars Nova Workshop works to inform, inspire and challenge listeners in order to elevate the role of jazz, improvisation and experimental music in contemporary culture.