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Artist Profiles

Tim Berne: Mind Over Friction

By Published: July 5, 2007
Currently he focuses his energy on playing gigs, which he says is the best form of promotion, and putting out records on Screwgun. He culls from an archive of tapes from shows recorded throughout the years, and once in awhile happens upon a gem which he'll release as an album. Such was the case with Livein Cognito, a live album whose location will not be revealed for fear that if word got out, furious bootleg exchanges would occur, leaving the album unsold.

Tim Berne

This year his first DVD, a live show in Paris of his band Bloodcount is planned for release. No longer active, the group included Formanek, tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Chris Speed and drummer Jim Black. He's put out a nice collection of solo discs by his regular mates, but would like to spend more time on the label, recording more musicians.

"I'd love to have a real label, he said. "The way I do it now is a little more guerrilla just because I don't have the time, but I'm quite sure I could do it successfully. I don't think it's as hard as people make it out to be. You just have to believe in what you're doing. A lot of guys, at the sign of any kind of business turbulence they just bail. If you're passionate about the music and you know how to present it you have to convey that to people. People want to like something, they want to buy it. You just have to be a little creative.

Creativity and integrity are two qualities Berne abounds in, according to Torn, whose album Prezens (ECM, 2007) documents himself and Berne playing together on a commercially-released recording for the first time. "His persistence in pursuit of his vision is that kind of integrity that is pretty rare these days, said Torn, "especially when integrity is applied to developing your own idiom of music. He's not working within an established genre, he's working within the genre of Tim Berne music, and that is extremely rare.

Selected Discography

David Torn, Prezens (ECM, 2005)

Tim Berne's Science Friction, The Sublime And (Thirsty Ear, 2003)

Tim Berne's Paraphrase, Please Advise (Screwgun, 1998)

Tim Berne's Bloodcount, Unwound (Screwgun, 1996)

Tim Berne's Caos Totale, Nice View (JMT-Winter & Winter, 1993)

Tim Berne, Mutant Variations (Soul Note, 1983)

Photo Credit
Scott Friedlander

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