It was not until his subsequent outing, Cloud About Mercury, that pioneering electric guitarist David Torn would make a noteworthy splash in the fusion/avant rock scene. Hence, Torn possessed a sound and style on guitar that set him apart from many of his peers. In fact, the artist was and still is a noteworthy proponent of digital technology; however, Torn succeeds where others fail, thanks to his deft expressionism and deeply personalized phraseology. With the opening "Before the Bitter Wind," Torn establishes a paradigm for the remainder of the set, largely due to his grainy-sounding crunch chords, ethereal atmospherics, and rippling harmonics. Here and throughout, Geoffrey Gordon serves as the catalyst, whether executing African-style tom-tom fills, steady beats, or a series of oscillating undercurrents. At times, Torn seems to be inflicting pain upon his axe of choice via an abundance of ominously stated passages and bone-crushing licks. On the contrary, he cyclically mitigates the proceedings down to a near halt, thanks to his diminutive chord progressions and shrewd utilization of volume-control techniques. Recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Glenn Astarita