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David Torn: Mercurial Mastery

Guitarist talks about harnessing the muse

David Torn

David Torn’s influence as a guitarist, composer and music technologist is epic. His expansive six-string prowess captures his emotional pulse in a unique way. With sounds ranging from the searing and soaring to liquid, loop-drenched atmospheres to full-on virtuoso shredding, there is very little the man can’t do with his instrument. He’s situated his guitar work across seven multi-genre solo albums that feature combinations of edgy, world music-infused jazz-rock, minimalist ambient explorations and cutting-edge electronica. In this excerpt from my book Innerviews: Music Without Borders, Torn provides his thoughts on the state of the guitar in popular culture, what motivates his artistry and a formative experience that still resonates with him today.

Tell me about your earliest creative revelation.

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