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.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.