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David Torn: Prezens

Guitarist David Torn’s awkward blend of ambience and loops can make even fellow guitar iconoclasts like Reeves Gabrels and Adrian Belew sound normal by comparison. Prezens comes 20 years after Torn’s previous full-band effort for ECM, Cloud About Mercury, and features a similarly uneven ride. Yet the new disc is also occasionally reminiscent of his masterfully acidic, one-man-band disc from 1995, Tripping Over God.

Within the full-band context, the flavorful sideman on recordings by David Bowie, Tori Amos, and Bill Bruford (as well as several soundtracks) leans toward overly long epics like the 10-minute-plus “Structural Functions of Prezens” and “Neck-Deep in the Harrow…” that, if anything, shift in too many different directions. Each was co-composed with alto saxophonist Tim Berne, keyboardist Craig Taborn and drummer Tom Rainey.

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