Borbetomagus formed in 1979 when saxophone players Jim Sauter and Don Dietrich joined with electric guitarist Donald Miller. Bass guitarist Adam Nodelman was briefly a member. Their aggressive music has been described as "a huge, overpowering, take-no-prisoners mass of sound." One extended technique they use is called "bells together" where Sauter and Dietrich place the bells (openings) of their saxophones against one other while playing. While the core trio listed above has been responsible for most of Borbetomagus's music, they have collaborated with Swiss circuit bending duo Voice Crack, Dutch cellist Tristan Honsinger, German double-bassist Peter Kowald, and others.