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The spontaneity of ensemble improvisation and the precision of post-recording digital manipulation meld on Prezens. Guitarist David Torn, alto saxophonist Tim Berne, keyboardist Craig Taborn, and drummer Tom Rainey laid down several hours worth of improvised material for the album; later, Torn tweaked and edited the recordings to create eleven tracks. Prezens fascinates on a moment-to-moment basis; even if their structure is not always clear, the pieces never really ramble. Along with being a jazzman and a David Sylvian collaborator, Torn is known for his film soundtrack work, and there’s a strong sense of drama as one atmosphere morphs into another, leaving the listener to supply mental images for the evocative music. One constant throughout is change: a tranquil passage will suddenly be agitated by an eruption of high-energy drumming (Rainey stands out), screaming guitar, or a siren of saxophone cries. Or the bass-less band will evaporate in a mist of electronic drones and drizzle. Prezens can recall updated prog or fusion or any of a number of electronica genres, but often the album’s sound is delightfully hard to pin down.
David Torn has found an excellent group of collaborators for the latest chapter in his unique and ever-evolving musical vision. The label-defying collective improvisations (post-arranged and processed by Torn) blend myriad influences into an often cinematic collage. Torn's familiar atmospheric guitar loopscapes are evident, as are some of the IDM-ish sonic manipulations from projects by his SPLaTTeRCeLL alter-ego. After a week and a dozen or so listens, I find this music continuing to reveal itself, pulling me in.
Born: May 26, 1953 in Amityville, NY
Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s
Top Albums and Songs by David Torn
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