Prezens

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: David Torn
LABELS: ECM
ALBUM TITLE: David Torn
PERFORMER: David Torn (guitars), Tim Berne (alto sax), Craig Taborn (Fender Rhodes etc), Tom Rainey (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: ECM 1877

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Having made some fine music for ECM 20-odd years ago, guitarist David Torn makes his return from the world of film soundtracks with this excellent album of …er, uncategorisable music.

In March 2005 he and the trio elsewhere known as Hard Cell recorded several hours of improvisation that Torn then re-mixed or, as he describes it, ‘re-considered’.

I’ve no idea how much of what we hear actually happened in performance and how much is the result of later tinkerings and manipulations: a companion ‘de-mix’ album would perhaps be worth hearing. Whatever, ECM’s Prezens is marvellous.

After an intro suggesting a sample from The Lost Jockey’s ‘Hoovering the Beach’, the opener ‘AK’ sets out the stall, moving through echoes of Booker T and the MGs before Berne’s alto tears the fabric to let through waves of back-alley blues and thrash metal.

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It voyages via whimsically deconstructed songs, dark funk, abstract electronica and classic post-Ornette jazz to the glorious multi-genre collision of ‘Transmit Regardless’. Barry Witherden