[ cover image - Verbatim, Flesh and Blood ]



Most of Bob's recordings can be downloaded here for free.

You may be interested in the articles Bob wrote about why he chose to give away his music:

Most of the music is also available for free from the Free Music Archive and also from the iTunes store (it costs money there).

A Beginner's Guide to the Music of Bob Ostertag

If you are new to Bob's music, click here for suggestions of good places to begin.


Commissioned by WDR Koln (German radio) and featuring Roscoe Mitchell of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, along with stellar vocalists Phil Minton, Shelly Hirsch, and Theo Bleckman.


Of all Bob's music, this has received the most critical attention. Considered a classic of sampling and musique concrete, it is created from a recording of a young boy burying his father during the civil war in El Salvador, a conflict in which Bob was deeply involved.


A string quartet, recorded by the Kronos Quartet. The music is a transcription of the sounds of a queer riot in San Francisco, where Bob has lived since 1988.


This is the first track on the first CD of the 4-CD Say No More project, which as Bob's touring ensemble for seven years. The music is composed from audio fragments of the musician's own playing. The notes associated with the CD’s explain the process in more detail. Featuring Joey Baron, Mark Dresser, and Phil Minton.


From Motormouth, Bob's 2011 CD of music played on a modular analog synthesizer made by electronic music pioneer Don Buchla.


From PANTYCHRIST, featuring Tokyo's Otomo Yoshihide and New York's Justin Bond. Twisted. Q.U.E.E.R. zine said, "To say that this has made me radically rethink my use of the word 'queer' is an understatement."


Released in 1982, featuring guitarist Fred Frith, and vocalist Phil Minton. The recording documents use of found sound in a musical and political way that has become commonplace with Hip Hop but was completely unknown at the time.

Bob Ostertag Plays the Serge! 1978-1983

Bob Ostertag Plays the Serge! 1978-1983 (2014)
"This music was made a long time ago, by someone very different from the person I am today. I had not heard some of this music since it was recorded thirty-five years ago."
[additional info / purchase]
Bob Ostertag Plays the Aalto

Bob Ostertag Plays the Aalto (2013)
All music made with Aalto, a software synthesizer created by Randy Jones and his Madrona Labs, which was in turn inspired by the modular analog synthesizers of the 1970s.
[additional info / purchase]

A Book of Hours

A Book of Hours (2013)
Devotional music to nothing in particular, with the extraordinary voices of Shelley Hirsch, Theo Bleckmann, and Phil Minton, and the breath and reeds of saxophone legend Roscoe Mitchell.
[additional info / purchase]


Motormouth (2011)
Bob Ostertag plays the Buchla 200e
[free download / additional info]


w00t. (2007)
w00t is a free, internet-only release composed entirely from fragments of music from video games.
[free download / additional info]

Living Cinema

Living Cinema Presents Between Science and Garbage. (2004)
Recording of live cinema performance with film maker Pierre Hébert. [Tzadik DVD Edition 3002]
[ additional info / purchase ]


Say No More Project CDs 1 & 2. (2002)
Originally released separately as Say No More (1993) and Say No More in Person (1994). Re-issued in MVORL limited edition in 2002. With Joey Baron (percussion), Mark Dresser (bass), Gerry Hemingway (percussion) and Phil Minton (voice). Assembled on computer from fragments of solo improvisations. [Seeland 521]
[ download / additional info / purchase ]

Say No More Project CDs 3 & 4. (2002)
Originally released separately as Verbatim (1996) and Verbatim Flesh & Blood (2000). Re-issued in MVORL limited edition in 2002. With Gerry Hemingway (percussion), Mark Dresser (bass), and Phil Minton (voice). Third and fourth and final cd from the Say No project. Assembled on computer (3) and recorded live in Gent, Belgium (4). [Seeland 522]
[ download / additional info / purchase ]

Dear Prime Minister. (1998)
With the students of the Hansa Gymnasium. WDR/Hansa Special. Special release through the Hansa Gymnasium and WDR. A UNESCO project to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Universal Human Rights.

All the Rage. (1993)
Kronos Quartet plays Ostertag's transcriptions of gay riots in San Francisco. Libretto by Sara Miles. [Elektra-Nonesuch 79332-2]
[ download / additional info / purchase ]

Burns Like Fire. (1992)
Riots, country and western, and gospel. Companion piece to All the Rage. Re-issued in MVORL limited edition in 2001.
[ download / additional info / purchase ]

Sooner or Later. (1991)
Solo. Based on a recording of a Salvadoran boy burying his father. RecRec Music (RecDec 37) Re-issued on MVORL/Seeland in limited edition in 2001. [Seeland 514]
[ download / additional info / purchase ]

Solo Improvisations

DJ of the Month: Bob Ostertag Solo Volume 2. (2002)
Solo improvisations. [Seeland 526]
[ download / additional info / purchase ]

Like A Melody, No Bitterness: Bob Ostertag Solo Volume 1. (1997)
Solo improvisation. Seeland 508. Re-issued in MVORL limited edition in 2001. [Seeland 508]
[ download / additional info / purchase ]


PantyChrist. (1999)
With Otomo Yoshihide (dj) and Justin Bond (vocal). [Seeland 510]
[ download / additional info / purchase ]

Fear No Love. (1995)
With Mike Patton, Fred Frith, Justin Bond, Lynn Breedlove, 15 others. [Avant 041]
[ download / additional info / purchase ]


The Surgeon General (2012)
Limited edition LP. DJ Rrose remixes Ostertag's 1977 composition The Surgeon General. Original track included as well. 2012.
[ listen / additional info ]

Motormouth Variations (2011)
Limited edition LP. DJ Rrose remixes Ostertag's CD of music made on the Buchla 200e Motormouth. Original tracks included as well. 2011.
[ listen / additional info ]

Twins! (1996)
With Otomo Yoshihide (dj). Resampled "twins" of parent tracks by Herb Robertson, Chris Cutler, and Yagi Michiyo. [Creativeman 0030]
[ additional info / purchase ]

Attention Span. (1990)
With John Zorn (alto sax) and Fred Frith (guitar). Rift Records (Rift 14) and RecRec Music (RecDec 33). Re-issued in MVORL limited edition in 2001.
[ additional info / purchase ]

Voice of America. (1982)
With Fred Frith (guitar) and Phil Minton (voice). Recorded in concert in London and NYC. RecRec Music (RecDec 907). Re-issued in MVORL limited edition in 2001.
[ download / additional info / purchase ]

Getting A Head. (1980)
With Charles K. Noyes (percussion) and Fred Frith (guitar). Uses unorthodox instrument built from tape recorders and helium balloons. Rift Records. Re-issued in MVORL limited edition in 2001. [Seeland 516]
[ download / additional info / purchase ]

Fall Mountain: Early Fall. (1979)
With Ned Rothenberg (wind instruments) and Jim Katzin (violin). Recorded at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. [Parachute]

Performing the works of other composers:

Anthony Braxton: Creative Orchestra (Koln) 1978. (1995)
Live performance from 1978 released as 2-CD set in 1995. [hatART 2-6171]

Eugene Chadbourne: The English Channel. (1978)
Eugene Chadbourne's large ensemble extravaganza, featuring many young East Village improvisors, including John Zorn, Fred Frith, Wayne Horvitz, LaDonna Smith, many more. [Parachute]

Burdocks. (2001)
"For half a century legendary scholar Christian Wolff has created a very personal musical response to John Cage's challenging experiments and three of his most distinctive compositions receive inspiring performances here by a collection of San Francisco and New York's best and most imaginative performers. Fred Frith, Joan Jeanrenaud, Bob Ostertag, Miya Masaoka and Stephen Drury are just a few of the remarkable players percussion virtuoso William Winant has brought together to pay tribute to the fascinating work of this conceptual visionary, who performs at the piano with an all-star ensemble on his most famous composition Burdocks."

Fred Frith/Keep the Dog: That House We Lived In. (2003)
2-CD set of concert recordings of Frith's ensemble from the 1990s. [Recommended Records FRA 3]

John Zorn: Pool. (2003)
Re-release of one of Zorn's earliest game pieces first issued in 1979. [Tzadik 73163]

John Zorn: The Parachute Years. (1997)
Multi-CD set of Zorn's early game pieces. [Tzadik 7316-7]


House of Discipline (with Mike Patton and Otomo Yoshihide).
Included on AngelicA 1997, a compilation of performances at the Angelica music festival in Bologna, Italy, 1997. [I dischi di angelica 3]

Improvisations with John Zorn and Fred Frith.
Included on AngelicA 1994, a compilation of performances at the Angelica music festival in Bologna, Italy, 1994. [I dischi di angelica 1]