For over a decade, Alaskan composer Matthew Burtner has worked independently with both the San-Diego-based ensemble NOISE and St. Paul’s innova Recordings. Now all three have joined forces to release NOISE Plays Burtner, the first published collection of his chamber music, and an album that bears the fruit of these collaborations: three substantial compositions that each explore a unique approach to noise in Burtner’s evocative and thoughtful music.
available at innova.mu
Lisa Cella, flute
Mark Menzies, violin
Franklin Cox, cello
Colin McAllister, guitar
Christopher Adler, piano
Morris Palter, percussion
with Matthew Burtner, saxophone
and Nathan Brock, computer
 Metal XY
 Split/Joined Diamonds (in Wood)
 C Acceleration Phase
 Slow 2:3 (in Noise)
 Melody Triangles
-  (dis)Sensus
 Modification 1
 Modification 2
Recording Engineer, Joseph Kucera
Recording Studio, UCSD Studio A, San Diego, CA
recorded at 192kHz, 24 bit audio
Mixing Engineer, Stewart Myers
Mixing Studio, Wishlist Recording, Richmond, VA
mixed at 192kHz, 24 bit audio
more information on the artists:
about the project:
Longtime collaborators NOISE and Matthew Burtner present an album of chamber music exploring diverse perspectives of noise in Burtner’s music. Each piece examines the sonic and philosophical dimensions of noise in a different way, through temporality, environment and politics. In Polyrhythmicana the fabric of time is pulled apart through the use of computer-generated click tracks that change tempo continuously creating geometric relationships of polyrhythm across the quartet. The musicians follow click tracks on headphones and the listener hears the resultant temporal warping of the pulse. The piece is dedicated to American composer, Henry Cowell, whose own Rhythm-Harmony quartets and composition, Rhythmicana, inspired an approach to deep rhythm in American experimentalism. In Polyrhythmicana the instruments are also wrapped in aluminum foil. The thin metal sympathetically resonates when the musicians play, casting the entire ensemble in an odd, buzzing, acoustic noise. The untreated acoustics bristle with noise and a wild energy that contrasts with the mathematical precision of the scored rhythms.
In Snowprints, an electronic part created using the sounds of recorded snow sets an environmental noise part in counterpoint with the acoustic instruments. The recorded sounds of snow create a musical syntax of environmental energy, the result of wind, temperature and time at play on the snow.
Chicago Artist, Lori May Orillo extracted the “Snowprints” snow noise notations from Burtner’s score and etched them into stone to make a limited edition of 25 lithographic prints.
(dis)Sensus explores noise in the politics of interaction within the dynamic closed system of the ensemble. The piece uses an interactive computer program allowing the music to embrace improvisation and a variety of fixed and open scoring techniques. The piece begins with the percussionist writing a fragment of text by Jacques Ranciere on a piece of amplified paper: “Dissensus is a modification of the coordinates of the sensible, a spectacle of a tonality that replaces another.” Each movement in (dis)Sensus presents a refigured aesthetic that explores a variety of conflicting perspectives as “tonalities” and it challenges the “sensible” by alternately embracing aesthetics of dissent and consensus.
Together these three pieces reveal a strong portrait of Burtner’s aesthetic as he engages with embodiment, ecoacoustics and polyrhythm in chamber music.
about the artists:
Matthew Burtner, biography
… surrounded by screens, cables and computers, the composer and child of the Arctic shore wore an aura of calm and composure, yet radiated a contained enthusiasm that portends great and greater things to come from this young musical genius of interpretation.
-National Geographic Newswatch, Michael McBride
Matthew Burtner is an Alaskan-born composer, sound artist and technologist specializing in chamber music and interactive new media. His work explores ecoacoustics, embodiment, and extended polymetric and noise-based systems. First Prize Winner of the Musica Nova International Electroacoustic Music Competition (Czech Republic), a 2011 IDEA Award Winner, and a recipient of the Howard Brown Foundation Fellowship, Burtner’s music has also received honors and awards from Bourges (France), Gaudeamus (Netherlands), Darmstadt (Germany) and The Russolo (Italy) international competitions. He is a professor of Composition and Computer Technologies in the Department of Music at the University of Virginia where he Directs the Interactive Media Research Group (IMRG) and Associate Directs the VCCM Computer Music Center.
completely new sound patterns and sonic ideas suggesting an entirely revised organization of tones unlike anything in our musical past.
– New York New Music Connoisseur, Mark Greenfest
Burtner’s music has been performed in major festivals and venues throughout the world, and commissioned by ensembles such as Integrales (Germany), NOISE (USA), Trio Ascolto (Germany), MiN (Norway), Musikene (Spain), Spiza (Greece), CrossSound (Alaska), and others. He has also had the opportunity to work closely with virtuosic soloists such as Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Dimitris Marinos, Morris Palter, Haleh Abghari, Lukas Ligeti, Michael Straus, Madeleine Shapiro and Wu Wei.
It was earth-shattering . . . literally. the entire space of Wallenberg reverberated with the waves of noise. It was bombarding yet remarkable; the loudness thrilled me, and I felt like I was in a cocoon of surrounding force.
– Augustana Observer, Daniel Reine
He is the composer of three evening-length multimedia opera/theater works — Ukiuq Tulugaq (Winter Raven), Kuik, and Auksalaq. A 2010/2011 Provost Fellow at the Center for 21st Century Studies at UWM, Burtner has also conducted long-term residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada), Phonos Foundation/Pompeu Fabra Universidad (Spain), Musikene (Spain), Cite des Arts (France), IRCAM/Centre Pompidou (France), and the University of Missouri Kansas City (USA). He studied composition, computer music, saxophone and philosophy at St. Johns College, Tulane University (BFA), Iannis Xenakis’s UPIC-Studios, the Peabody Institute/Johns Hopkins (MM), and Stanford University/CCRMA (DMA). Among published recordings for DACO (Germany), The WIRE (UK), Innova (US), Summit (US) Centaur (US), EcoSono (US) and Euridice (Norway), his music appears on three critically acclaimed solo recordings.
He works with sustains, overtones, difference tones, resonances, repetitive structures, and feedback. The music is as monolithic as an ice field and as rich as a complex urban environment.
-21st Century Music, Mark Alburger
As a technologist, Burtner develops systems for human-computer-environment interaction featured in his music. He invented the NOMADS telematic system, the MICE human-computer ensemble and orchestra, the Metasaxophone augmented instrument, and a number of ecoacoustic approaches.
…the young musicians of the soundON Festival of Modern Music 2010 possess charm and enthusiasm in large measure,
as well as a high degree of performance acuity that makes sense of the complexities and puzzles that abound in contemporary musical scores.”
—Kenneth Herman, review of soundON 2010 for sandiego.com, June 18, 2010
NOISE, an ensemble of accomplished soloists committed to contemporary chamber music, presents energetic, engaging and intellectually stimulating concerts of the best chamber music written by today’s young and innovative composers from around the world. The repertoire of NOISE is focused on evocative aural soundscapes, complexity and high-intensity grooves. The ensemble specializes in music that is highly experimental with complex notation, often involving high-intensity grooves and demanding concentration. Evocative aural soundscapes, post-minimalism process music and new complexity are some of the favorite fields of play for NOISE. NOISE repertoire includes works by composers such as Evan Ziporyn, Matthew Burtner, Sidney Corbett, Brian Ferneyhough, Philip Glass, Kaija Saariaho, Morton Feldman, Orland Jacinto Garcia, Toru Takemitsu, Louis Andriessen, Steve Reich, Frederic Rzewski, Tom Johnson, Christopher Adler, and many more.
“One is utterly disarmed by their charm, their seriousness, and total lack of pretension. …
A more dedicated or more talented group would be hard to imagine.”
—David Gregson, review of soundON 2007 for sandiego.com
Founded in 2000 as the ensemble-in-residence with San Diego New Music, NOISE presents an annual festival, the soundON Festival of Modern Music at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla, California. NOISE has also performed at Stanford University, the California Institute of the Arts, the University of Virginia, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the University of California, Santa Cruz, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, the University of California, San Diego and the University of San Diego.
“Tonight, NOISE has given us technical perfection and the passion that every composer craves.”
—Cathy Robbins, live blog from soundON 2007 for voiceofsandiego.org
NOISE is active in commissioning and premiering works by emerging composers, including Sidney Marquez Boquiren, Nathan Brock, Christopher Burns, Matthew Burtner, Derek Keller, David Lipten, Erik Ulman, Rosalind Page, and Abigail Richardson. The Ensemble appears on Christopher Adler’s 2008 CD Ecstatic Volutions in a Neon Haze (Innova) and on Derek Keller’s 2007 CD, Impositions and Consequences (Tzadik).