Bill Muter Is Here to Show the World That Tubas Are Cool

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Brent T. Williams
Experimental tuba: Two words you don't see side-by-side very often.

The big bulky brass instrument conjures up images of lockstep marching bands, or smoky New Orleans jazz joints, but never anything remotely new or avant-garde.

Set all you preconceived notions about the tuba aside, and get ready for Boca Raton born and bred musician Bill Muter to blow your mind with the beast of brass. Seriously, Muter emits sounds out of the tuba that are simply perplexing. Bending, molding, and shifting the notes of the lowest pitched brass and producing head-scratching noises that resemble guitar strums, keyboard bleeps, didgeridoo fizzes, and more.

He also tips and taps on the oversized horn at the same time, recreating the pitter-patter of drums. The real showstopper is when Mutter starts beatboxing out of the thing, a little boom boom biff hip-hop throwback emitted out a symphonic instrument leaves the crowd like putty in Muter's hands.

See also:
- A Practical Approach: At Only 27, Bill Muter Writes the Book on Playing the Tuba

He takes the tuba into realms unknown; dimensions we didn't even know were possible for this orchestral instrument. Classical, jazz, symphonic, hip-hop, rock, fusion, funk, Muter has no sonic boundaries.

To give you an idea of Muter's brilliance, on his debut solo album Off Script, he lays out 120 compiled tracks of tuba, playing the melody, bass lines, and the drum parts out of the horn. "In the album, 99-percent of the sounds you hear were produced by the tuba," he says.

Muter's intent was to create newer divergent sounds out of the instrument, emitting noises and resonances that people have never heard before from it. He really knocks it out of the park on Off Script. Muter teamed up with ever-eccentric Mike Mineo on this effort, Mineo taking a seat in the producing chair for this distinctive record. The two have been working together for five years now, Muter loaning his inimitable skills on Mineo's two records, Eccentricity and Beach Season.

Mineo and Muter made a template of the number of different sounds they could make with the tuba, according to Muter. "We blew into the instrument, hit it like a drum, scratched it, flicked it, and pretty much anything that made a noise, we recorded all of those sounds and just started writing music with what we came up with."


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