This 1987 production signifies experimental guitarist David Torn's second effort for Germany-based ECM Records. Here, the artist exhibits a sound, style, and methodology that are clearly his own, amid superb support by Bill Bruford (drums), Tony Levin (Chapman Stick/bass), and Mark Isham (trumpets). Torn generates gobs of excitement via his cunningly articulated phraseology, while also incorporating North African and East Indian modal concepts into these power-packed performances, fabricated upon climactic opuses and steamy crescendos. The guitarist's rippling harmonics and off-kilter voicings make for an engaging listening experience, especially when he trades sprightly fours with Isham atop the often-circuitous rhythms. Simply put, Cloud About Mercury looms as one of the finest jazz fusion dates of the '80s, and should be deemed a mandatory purchase for aficionados of this genre.
AllMusic Review by Glenn Astarita