David Torn

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This 1990 recording represents experimental guitarist David Torn's eagerly anticipated third studio album, following his wondrously striking 1986 debut, Best Laid Plans, and 1987's Cloud About Mercury. One of the differentiators here is that the artist vocalizes on several tracks. Otherwise, electric bassist Mick Karn replaces Chapman Stick performer Tony Levin, who appeared on Torn's previous efforts, while drummer Bill Bruford once again imparts his prominent skills. Overall, Torn's atmospheric yet altogether impacting approach might signify an antithesis to the driving force witnessed on Cloud About Mercury. However, the leader's often memorably melodic compositions, also featuring his sinewy lead lines, howling choruses, and implementation of Far Eastern modalities, provide the winning edge. Consequently, Torn is not an overly impressive vocalist, yet generally harmonizes the primary themes or utilizes his voice to establish a melody line. This release also features a hard-edged spin on Hendrix' "Voodoo Chile," among other works that span ambient/electronic dreamscapes amid trumpeter Chris Botti's regally pronounced statements. Furthermore, many of the rhythmic motifs are constructed upon simple march-style progressions. Hence, this production exhibits yet another side of Torn's articulate craftiness and forward-thinking tendencies.

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