Music » CD Reviews

David Torn

Prezens (ECM)


David Torn packs more into a single track than most musicians do an entire album. He's a texturalist who thrives on improvisation and collaboration, the foundations of his new disc.

For Prezens, Torn doctored hours of tracks recorded live in 2005, crafting an unpredictable sequence in which it's hard to tell where Torn's distorted guitar ends and Craig Taborn's keyboards begin. This music can be harsh, funky, or meticulously bent, like Björk. "Miss Place, the Mist . . ." sees Torn's ensemble stuff Gypsy tonality inside a pop frame.

Saxophonist Tim Berne, a jazz iconoclast for the last 30 years, is easy to identify -- as is drummer Tom Rainey, though what he plays and how much it's been electronically altered is anyone's guess. Percussionist Matt Chamberlain checks in on the aforementioned "Miss Place."

This is swirling, brave music for those willing to open their ears to the new. Some tunes are easier than others, but take the entire trip.

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