David Torn — Prezens
(ECM 1877, 2007, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2008-01-01Guitarist 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.
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more
(Tom Newman) - Variations on a Rhythm of Mike Oldfield - David Bedford – This is a four track EP, and is basically a Tom Newman album. It's confusing, I know. This is some of that stuff you know Oldfield and Co. did for laughs (when perhaps beer and worse entered the... (1998) » Read more