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David Torn

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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David Torn Cloud About Mercury album cover
4.30 | 34 ratings | 3 reviews | 50% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1987

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Suyafhu Skin... Snapping the Hollow Reed (8:15)
2. The Mercury Grid (6:32)
3. 3 Minutes of Pure Entertainment (7:05)
4. Previous Man (7:52)
- The Network of Sparks :
5. I - The Delicate Code (4:50)
6. II - Egg Learns to Walk... Suyafhu Seal (10:22)

Total Time 44:56

Line-up / Musicians

- David Torn / electric & acoustic guitars

- Mark Isham / trumpet, piccolo trumpet, flugelhorn, synthesizer (2)
- Tony Levin / Chapman Stick, synth bass
- Bill Bruford / Simmons & synth drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Dieter Rehm

LP ECM Records ‎- ECM 1322 (1987, Germany)

CD ECM Records ‎- ECM 1322 (1987, Germany)

Thanks to snobb for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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DAVID TORN Cloud About Mercury ratings distribution

(34 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(50%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (9%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DAVID TORN Cloud About Mercury reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Very rare album from almost forgotten great experimentalist David Torn. Searching on his own sound in the field of experimental guitar music, David Torn tested many electronic devices and techniques. But it is a case, when deep experimentation gave excellent musical result.

Just imagine King Crimson's rhythm section (Tony Levin + Bill Bruford), David Torn on guitar ( he has very own sound, but nearest example is Robert Fripp) and excellent jazz trumpetist Mark Isham as one band. That is it, this album.

Very first album sounds are guitar soundscapes, similar to Fripp's. But very soon the music goes to the fields of world-avant-fusion (where Torn plays strings in a manner of French- Vietnamese guitar player Nguyen Le).

Step by step trumpet takes his leading role, and doesn't surrender till very end of the album. Fripp-like guitar and bass stick build very multi textured background for trumpet improvisational sound it.

But guitar will have its moments many times. Sometimes duelling with trumpet, or going over it , it builds great aerial sound constructions ( elegantly mixed by EMC characteristic sound mixing). Rhythm structures are complex, influenced by African and Caribbean drumming.

All the album sounds as one excellent piece of music. Possibly, the best fusion album coming from eighties!

Very recommended for any jazz rock fusion fan. Masterpiece!

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars David Torn is a highly thought of experimental guitarist from the USA. The fact Tony Levin, Bill Bruford and Mark Isham are his band on this album should tell you how respected he is in the music industry.This album is fairly unique sounding to my ears anyway. Experimental and atmospheric Jazz with a World-Music vibe is what we get. I did think of Terje Rypdal on a few occassions with David's guitar work. He's different as he often creates soundscapes with his guitar instead of soloing.

"Suyafhu Skin...Snapping The Hollow Reed" opens with lots of spacey atmosphere. The acoustic guitar is different sounding that's for sure,it has that World flavour to it. Piccolo helps out too. The electric guitar 3 1/2 minutes in sounds amazing. Back to the previous soundscape a minute later. Electric guitar is back. Drums are prominant after 7 minutes. "The Mercury Grid" opens with horns followed by percussion before a minute. It gets pretty intense before 5 minutes.

"3 Minutes Of Pure Entertainment" features Bruford on the synth-drums. We also get horns and atmosphere. Guitar after 2 1/2 minutes. Normal drums 4 1/2 minutes in then back to the synth-drums. "Previous Man" has a good beat with horns and keys. Guitar after 3 minutes. Trumpet blasts 6 1/2 minutes in as drums pound. "The Delicate Code" is catchy to start. It settles before 2 minutes. The guitar comes in reminding me of Rypdal. "Egg Learns To Walk!...Suyafhu Seal" opens with percussion and horns as the guitar starts to solo. Nice. It settles some after 2 minutes. The horn replaces the guitar. Great sound ! Guitar is back 4 1/2 minutes in. It then calms right down a minute later. Sounds proceed to come and go. Lots of atmosphere. It ends just like the album began.

This is a very interesting album to listen to.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This was a surprising album from David Torn. Surprising because around that time, in the mid- eighties, it seemed like ECM record was pushing all of their jazz guitarists to sound like then golden boy Pat Metheny. Well here, Torn does play guitar synth at times, but with King Crimson's rhythm section of Bill Bruford and Tony Levin, the music has much more bite than any of those Metheny vehicles.

The album starts with Suyafhu Skin... / Snapping The Hollow Reed with Bruford playing tuned synth pads in a way similar to the way he used them in his Earthworks band (which debuted the same year as this album). The rhythms build up to the point where he switches to tuned real drums, and then into a full drum kit as the song builds. Levin is his usual cool, funky self playing mostly stick while Torn and Mark Isham play solos over the top. And that's just the first song.

It should suffice to say that this is an excellent find for any eighties King Crimson fan, or avant-fusion enthusiast.

4.5 stars.

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