David Torn Comes Into His Own Here
P. McKenna | Atlanta GA | 03/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the disc where David Torn really found his niche and his sounds!
Armed with some up-to-date technology for the time (1987), Dave wrote to Bill Bruford (after seeing him play with King Crimson) and asked him if he'd like to try recording, thankfully, the answer was YES! Before long, Tony Levin came into the picture with his Chapman Stick and so did trumperter Mark Isham.
Improvisation plays a major role in this outing although there are some more composed segments, like the brilliant, "3 Minutes of Pure Entertainment" which in reality is several minutes of fiery brilliance punctuated by a snaky unison melodic figure from Torn and Isham.
Torn alone commands a huge tonal palette utilizing a Steinberger guitar and all manner of digital looping and delay implements, plus an improvised koto-like instrument made out of a junky old guitar (used on the opening cut "Suyafhu Skin/Snapping The Hollow Reed", which also features some very unique percolating melodic figues generated by Bill Bruford on electronic drums. Dave lets loose with grand soaring melodies here before charging into an apocolyptic conclusion. "Mercury Grid", another one of the more structured pieces shines brightly as Mark Isham's trumpet is featured heavily here as Dave unleashes and extrudes other-worldly and ghostly chordal swells underneath.
From "The Previous Man" onwards, the pieces are more loose and improvisational with each musician contributing equally, no-one dominating the proceedings. Dave really puts his looping skills to the test here as well as unleashing searing melodies and angry fusillades of noise at times. The disc however does end on a quiet meditative note.
People who had heard his earlier playing (for example with Everyman Band in the early 80's) sometimes compared him to Allan Holdsworth, NOT SO HERE!!! Dave really found his own style and sounds. Listen to this and have your mind expanded!"
Music for the expansive thinker
Greg Mann | Pasadena, CA USA | 11/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this on vinyl, when it was first released in 1986. I had never heard anything like it, and soon I'd played the album until the grooves wore through to the other side. It was a great stepping stone that lead from the world of progressive rock into the realm of jazz. Mark Isham's horn work was like faint, echoey memories of Miles Davis from my childhood. It combined so effortlessly with Torn's guitarscapes, the likes of which I had never heard before, and Levin and Bruford provided a rhythm section that was a familiar friend, guiding me into uncharted territoty; expanding my appreciation of aural space. Some 21 years later, I still find this album to be both fresh and refreshing. This recording is the documentation of a rare and successful culmination of seemingly disparate parts, reflecting creative spontaneity and integrity."