Exposé Online banner

David Torn — Presenz
(ECM 1877, 2007, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2008-01-01

Presenz Cover artGuitarist David Torn's return to the ECM label is surely a testament to the man’s desire to push forward. His long time collaborators (Tim Berne and his Science Friction band of improvisers) provide a boiling hotbed of steamy jazz, free playing, and live sampling across the disc as the composer’s raw material. Torn isn’t as interested in the guitar as lead instrument — rather he’s apt to use it as a sword-like triggering device to spit out gritty fuzz laden textures. The disc opens with a 60s feel due to keyboardist Craig Taborn channeling Larry Young’s Hammond B3 style. The guitarist’s role as audio ring leader is prominent in the loopback and sampled recited prose of “Rest and Unrest” and “Ring for Endless Travel.” The former track features backwoods acoustic blues layered with unusual synthesizer leads. Berne’s own cough-and-spit playing across the disc delivers a consistently volatile and abrasive air. For guitar enthusiasts there is the brief “Them Buried Standing” where a real-time sampled Frisell-like phrase is well-played. Other notable pieces include “Bulbs,” which drives in a direction toward Bill Laswell’s audio experiments with Praxis and “Sink” where most of Torn’s wailing leads are unleashed. In closing, it’s great to hear Torn leading this inspired group; too bad the tour never materialized to take it all to the next level.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 35, 2007 releases

Related artist(s): David Torn, Tim Berne

Latest news

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more

2017-01-27
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more

2017-01-26
Butch Trucks RIP – Butch Trucks was one of two drummers in the first incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, helping the band achieve its legendary status as an American original. He died on January 24, 2017 of a self-inflicted gunshot would. He was 69. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Modest Midget - The Great Prophecy of a Small Man – Lionel Ziblat is an Israeli / Argentinean composer and musician based in Holland, and is the visionary and driving force behind Modest Midget, a four-piece touring band, although many more musicians...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues