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David Torn: Making Records, Film Composition, and Working With David Bowie

Mark Sullivan By

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The problem is we just did a Sun of Goldfinger record which is my ongoing band since 2010 and we finally made a record. The band is me, Tim Berne, and Ches Smith. Ches Smith is playing drums, synthesizers and yeah, that's all he's playing in the band; drums and electronics, a little bit of looping. I'm back to going to Europe a lot to play, Sun of Goldfinger has been doing a lot of gigs you know even though there's no record out, we keep doing more gigs. There was a need to name the band before the first gig. And Tim [Berne] said "you name it this time." There was really no meaning to it at all, except I was thinking of "Sun of" something. My friend Reinhold was designing an amp called the Goldfinger, and I went "that's cool" so we went with that, and it just stayed that way. There was no meaning to it at all—it's as meaningless as could be—except it felt right at the moment.

And so that's going to take precedence over my solo project. Those two records are going to come from ECM. My guess is that Sun of Goldfinger is going to be the next ECM release, pretty sure. I'm going to finish it in November and deliver it to them and, but I don't know when it will be released. And then I'm probably going to take a break from making my own records and if it's seven years or I never make another record again, it'll be one of those two things. But there's a shit ton of back catalogue stuff that has never come out.

For example, I have a Soundcloud page that I have let people listen to for years now that's just wild stuff that I just do, some film scores that I own I'll put up I'll put up a track here or there once in awhile. It's mostly like fuzzy solo guitar in mono, but there's some really good material in there and you know there are probably 150 pieces on Soundcloud at least. I just let people listen for free all the time. And then there's the rest of the Splattercell record that never came out which is primarily electronic, there is a duet with [Living Colour drummer] Will Calhoun called lovebubble, a trio with Will Calhoun and [bassist] MeShell NdegeOcello called plane. There's a group I've finished recording with [drummer] Ben Perosky, [bassist] Fima Ephron that's really cool, that's a great recording done that's never come out—these are all finished recordings except for the Meshell one.

There are at least three film scores that I own maybe four, maybe five that have never been released: scores that I really liked and should be put out. And there was a rumor, that someone was going to offer me to do a box set of my choice of that material, best of that material for four CDs, four pieces of vinyl being different than the CDs. I might do that afterwards but it's too much work making your own records, can't make a living making your own records.

I'm still making records, I mean I'm working on two records right now, working on singer Lana Cencic's record which I'm just about finished—it's a very unique record—and then I do the Swiss band Sonar's record and [pianist] Matt Mitchell's new record I produced and mixed. Matt Mitchell's previous new record which is an incredible solo piano record I produced and mixed, the new Tim Berne record I've produced and mixed (and play on a little bit) [Incidentals on ECM], I am still doing a lot of production, I'm hopefully going to do another [Brooklyn guitarist] Dustin Carlson record no one knows who he is, he's fucking genius, new music/singer-songwriter. Plenty of stuff bubbling, I'm just not sure I want to make any more records for a while. I'm historically always taking breaks for three to five years you know, sometimes longer. Splattercell too, Prezens was seven years, seven and a half years.

Splattercell, that could be re-released, I could put that in a package. Because I own it, I could just redo it, remaster it and put it into a package because it's not available anywhere. That's probably one of my best records, it is one of my best records. It was the clincher at the end of the trilogy, the trilogy was Tripping Over God, What Means Solid Traveler and Splattercell-OAH (and Splattercell-AH which was the remix record). That was a group of records that all, they all were part of a period of time and the Splattercell stuff is the apex of it for me. It was on 75 Ark, Dan The Automator's label, it was on a hip-hop label basically, a hip-hop label, electronica label. If you haven't heard it, it's definitely worth hearing, and it's one of my favorites. I know it broke some ground so it makes me feel good.

Photo Credit: Mark Sullivan

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