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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sonar with David Torn: Vortex

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It might be all too simple to explain away Sonar, the Swiss twin-guitar/bass/drums quartet now in its eighth year together, through a series of touchstones. King Crimson, by way of that band's co-founder/guitarist Robert Fripp's Guitar Craft? Check. The influence of Nik Bartsch and Don Li's innovative meshing of Steve Reich-ian minimalism with deceptively complicated polyrhythmic and isorhythmic rock/funk grooves, where as much as can be is made of as little as possible? Double Check. Guitarist and primary composer Stephan ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sonar with David Torn: Vortex

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Swiss art rock/minimalist band Sonar have always had a way with a groove, combining repeating patterns (frequently in mixed meters) into a hypnotic blend. In this they have a lot in common with Steve Reich's Musicians (in the new-music world) and fellow Swiss Nik Bärtsch's Ronin (in the jazz world). Sonar has always sounded like a rock band, but somewhat restrained. With American guitarist/looper David Torn as producer and collaborator it has found its id: music with a rougher, more ...

INTERVIEWS

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

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Experimental guitarist, looper, songwriter, improviser, session guitarist, film composer, record producer, mixer...David Torn is all of those things. He is constantly on the move, looking forward to the next thing. He was last interviewed for All About Jazz in 2007 ("David Torn: A Lifetime Of Improvisation In Non-Improvisational Settings“). Our conversation mostly ranged over his many activities in the ten years since then. Asked about researching his playing history, and the Wikipedia article in particular: The ...

LIVE REVIEWS

ECM @ Winter Jazzfest 2016

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ECM @ Winter Jazzfest ECM Records Stage The New School, Tishman Auditorium New Yor, NY January 15 & 16, 2016 New York City's 2016 Winter Jazzfest Marathon capped off a string of first-week performances. The running theme of the festival was transition, as musicians of all walks emphasized the collaborative spirit of their chosen profession and the metamorphic possibilities without which jazz would wither. At the heart of this year's Marathon ...

LIVE REVIEWS

David Torn at Streamside Concerts

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David Torn Streamside Concerts Arden, NC June 6, 2015 Experimental electric guitarist David Torn was touring to support his album only sky (ECM, 2015), a collection of solo performances done in real time using looping and other electronic processing. But there was no attempt to play selections from the recording: as Torn explained during the Q&A after the concert, all of the performances on the tour were completely improvised. Anyone who has followed Torn's career ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

only sky

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Despite a career that now goes back over three decades, the relative infrequency of releases from guitarist and sound sculptor David Torn renders any new one, at the very least, a cause for speculation...if not enthusiastic anticipation. Beyond the soundtracks that have become one piece of the puzzle that defines who Torn is--and acting as engineer and/or producer for fellow unfettered explorers like saxophonist Tim Berne on albums including Shadow Man (ECM, 2013) as another--Torn was last heard on a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Levin Torn White: Levin Torn White

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Pity poor Alan White. The British drummer had racked up plenty of street cred playing on projects by then-ex-Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison, Joe Cocker and Free's Paul Kossoff, when progressive rockers Yes came knocking in 1973, looking to replace Bill Bruford, who'd departed, on the cusp of massive commercial success, to join up with the more improv-heavy King Crimson. Forty years later, White is still working in a group that struggles for relevancy in the 21st century--still relying ...

LIVE REVIEWS

David Torn's Prezens at Joe's Pub, NYC

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David Torn and Prezens at Joe's Pub, NYCJoe's PubNew York City, NYMarch 13, 2008 The quartet that took the stage is a live version of the group that is on prezens (ECM, 2007), which is the result of guitarist/electronics magician David Torn's post-processing of many hours of improvising by him, Tim Berne (alto saxophone), Craig Taborn (keyboards) and Tom Rainey (drums). When the chance to hear this band live presented itself, I jumped at ...

INTERVIEWS

David Torn: A Lifetime of Improvisation in Non-Improvisational Settings

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David Torn has done work in so many capacities in such a variety of musical projects that it's somewhat daunting to try to state just what exactly he is. Certainly Torn's a guitarist of humbling technique--but he's always been more interested in texture and sound than the kind of electric shredding beloved in guitar-hero-worshiping circles. Torn studied composition with Leonard Bernstein and guitar with John Abercrombie and Pat Martino. It was during his tenure as guitarist with the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Torn: Prezens

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With Prezens, guitarist and electronics magician David Torn returns to ECM with his first album since Cloud About Mercury (ECM, 1987). In the intervening twenty-year absence, Torn has made a number of albums for other labels, and has also composed movie soundtracks. The music was created by a working band that spent years playing together, and then got together in the studio to record about a dozen hours of purely improvised material. Torn then took the results ...