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Best Jazz Recordings, 2007 (pt. 3): David Torn’s “Prezens”

David Torn has always been an unrepentant anti-guitarist. As good as Torn is at creating otherworldly aural landscapes that reference everything from improvised music and jazz to progressive rock, and world music, none of his previous records have represented his full capabilities. Until now. "Prezens" is the record that Torn fans have been waiting for, the most fully realized of his career. By enlisting saxophonist Tim Berne, keyboardist Craig Taborn and drummer Tom Rainey, "Prezens" might appear to be a different slant on Berne's Science Friction band. But this largely improvised album bears little resemblance to that group, focusing, as it does, on Torn’s penchant for extreme sonic manipulation where sound and ambience trump melody and simple form. "Prezens" is not for the faint-at-heart or those married tightly to traditional definitions. The record creates its own sonic universe by marrying real time improvisational interaction, abstruse form, and sonic expansion through live sampling and post-production manipulation. It is a boldly adventurous record.