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Album Review

It was not until his subsequent outing, Cloud About Mercury, that pioneering electric guitarist David Torn would make a noteworthy splash in the fusion/avant rock scene. Hence, Torn possessed a sound and style on guitar that set him apart from many of his peers. In fact, the artist was and still is a noteworthy proponent of digital technology; however, Torn succeeds where others fail, thanks to his deft expressionism and deeply personalized phraseology. With the opening "Before the Bitter Wind," Torn establishes a paradigm for the remainder of the set, largely due to his grainy-sounding crunch chords, ethereal atmospherics, and rippling harmonics. Here and throughout, Geoffrey Gordon serves as the catalyst, whether executing African-style tom-tom fills, steady beats, or a series of oscillating undercurrents. At times, Torn seems to be inflicting pain upon his axe of choice via an abundance of ominously stated passages and bone-crushing licks. On the contrary, he cyclically mitigates the proceedings down to a near halt, thanks to his diminutive chord progressions and shrewd utilization of volume-control techniques. Recommended.

Biography

Born: 26 May 1953 in Amityville, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

New York-based composer, multi-instrumentalist, producer, singer, writer, and self-described "texturalist/guitarist" David Torn lent his distinctive style to numerous films and documentaries and collaborations. He worked with composers Howard Shore, Carter Burwell, and Ryuichi Sakamoto, as well as appeared on recordings from k.d. lang, David Bowie, Jim Carroll, Laurie Anderson, and a host of others. His solo works include Best Laid Plans (1984), Cloud About Mercury (1986), Door X (1990), Tripping...
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Best Laid Plans, David Torn
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