David Torn's eagerly-awaited first ECM recording in 21 years is a sonic voyage that defies categories and blurs boundaries. Prezens is also the debut of a unique band featuring three of the most recognizable names in e... more »xperimental jazz - Tim Berne, Craig Taborn and Tom Rainey. The CD has all of the David Torn trademarks: multi-layered textures, thick chords, disruptions, distortions and hypnotic loops. On this Torn production, or "reconsideration" as he calls it, he wraps his sounds around those of his band mates, often taking apart their improvisations and reassembling them.« less
David Torn's eagerly-awaited first ECM recording in 21 years is a sonic voyage that defies categories and blurs boundaries. Prezens is also the debut of a unique band featuring three of the most recognizable names in experimental jazz - Tim Berne, Craig Taborn and Tom Rainey. The CD has all of the David Torn trademarks: multi-layered textures, thick chords, disruptions, distortions and hypnotic loops. On this Torn production, or "reconsideration" as he calls it, he wraps his sounds around those of his band mates, often taking apart their improvisations and reassembling them.
Kevin Brunkhorst | Nova Scotia, Canada | 05/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"To roughly paraphrase an axiom: one's judgments about something say as much about you as about the thing being judged.
If you buy this CD expecting jazz, you might be disappointed. This doesn't adhere to most concepts of jazz. Even the most crucial element of jazz - improvisation - has been mediated by Torn's production and manipulation.
Torn is no longer simply a guitarist on this album. His guitar playing is not always the foreground, and varies between texture and soloing; his blowing chops here are largely in the 'rock' idiom. Here he is the producer and auteur; besides playing the guitar, he 'plays' loopers, samplers, the mixing board, and lots of electronic devices. The band tracks on the disc have been edited, chopped, mangled, distorted, looped, etc., to suit Torn's compositional sense. Teo Macero did a similar thing to Miles' Bitches Brew sessions; that end result was as much Teo's as Miles'. (Apparently, reading the reviews here, Prezens shares a little of Brew's ability to provoke, as well.)
There is little in the way of conventional form here; Torn's choices of juxtapositions and assembly will require a lot of digestion on the part of the listener. There is also little in the way of conventional melody or harmony, but there is a detectable flow of events. In many places it's hard to discern the original source playing from Torn's production. If I have a gripe about it (so far), it would be in allowing more of the individual playing, and less of Torn's assembly. But that would change everything. (That, and sometimes I wanted to hear more clarity and detail in the drum sound.)
Let me approach it Rumsfeld-style: Is it jazz? In my opinion, not really. But I can't think of any label that fits it. Is the playing good? Yes. Is it fun to listen to? For me, yes. Is it rich, fulfilling, satisfying? So far, for me, yes - there is a lot of content here to take in, and it won't all be revealed in two or six hearings."
Sound Morphing King
Travis Wade Evans | Atlanta, GA | 04/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"David Torn is a sound painter similar to Steve Tibbetts. What attracted me to "Prezens" is David's specialized abilities to provide music as he sees it in his mind. As a listener we are forced to try to figure out what was on David's mind at the time of the recording. On the other hand, what David has created is 110 percent original and originality is what I personally like.
I didn't have any specific expectations of what I should hear as this is David's first ECM recording in over 20 years. I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised to hear how wonderful this music is, its expansive mood and sound.
The album contains a series of sound morphing and natural improvised playing. He mixes elements of hard rock, jazz funk, electronic music, and an overall jazz metaphore. This is an adventurous and atmospheric album.
I highly recommend "Prezens""
Like Polytown On Acid..
W. Blum | SF | 05/30/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ahhh, some good explorative jazz! This album can do many things... 1. Unintentionally scare my girlfriend. 2. Make me stop and space out to those ethreal soft sections. 3. Clinch my teeth and sway to Torn's explosive solos on a couple of the tracks. 4. Knock the Wax out you ears. 5. Make the dog look at you funny.
Torn's "Cloud About Mercury" is pure Musical Zazen to me. Prezens is even more out there, but for fans of this genre it should be sheer joy...and at least several Minutes of Pure Entertainment."
Definitions have vanished
Andreas C G | Huntington Beach, CA United States | 02/22/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Definitions have vanished"
That's what the unidentified speaking voice repeats in the second track, "Rest & Unrest" (along with other phrases from the "Faith Mind Sutra"), and that line perfectly describes the music throughout this album.
Until recently I was unfamiliar with David Torn. I bought this CD on somewhat of a lark, after it popped up as an Amazon recommendation, and it's my best discovery in a long time. It has been on heavy rotation on my stereo since.
Trying to pidgeon-hole this one into any category or style is impossible. The music moves through all kinds of styles (and simultaneous mixes thereof), sometimes gradually and seamlessly, sometimes with very abrupt transitions. He'll go from ethereal Frippertronics to a grinding Black Sabbath-like metal fuzztone before you know what hit you. Melodic jazz, rock, electronica and minimalist elements meld with noises and sound effects into one. A couple of the tracks are short and focus on one or two main ideas, whereas the longer tracks really are like journeys through an ever-changing landscape. He doesn't necessarily sound like them , but fans of guitarists with a "no boundaries" attitude like Robert Fripp, Nels Cline, Elliott Sharpe, and Fred Frith should definitely check this out.
Is it Live or is it.....David Torn's manipulation
Eclectic | DHS, CA | 05/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"David Torn's Prezens is my all time favorite avant garde recording. I have always enjoyed his work, but I was totally blown away when I first played this CD. Is it Jazz? is it Metal? is it Fusion? Is it Blues? It is all of these things and none of these things. Torn is a master and with the help of Tim Berne(alto sax),Craig Taborn(Fender Rhodes,Hammond B3,Mellotron) Tom Rainey(Drums) plus a little(oh who am I kidding) alot of Mr. Torn's beautiful sound manipulation, he has created his greatest work."