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David Torn

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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David Torn David Torn, Mick Karn & Terry Bozzio: Polytown album cover
3.92 | 41 ratings | 8 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1994

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Honey Sweating (5:45)
2. Palms For Lester (6:43)
3. Open Letter To The Heart Of Diaphora (4:36)
4. Bandaged By Dreams (6:53)
5. Warrior Horsemen Of The Spirit Thundering Over Hills Of Doubt To A Place Of Hope (5:01)
6. Snail Hair Dune (9:31)
7. This Is The Abduction Scene (3:09)
8. Red Sleep (4:27)
9. Res Majuko (3:42)
10. City Of The Dead (3:30)

Total Time: 58:17

Line-up / Musicians

- David Torn / guitars, loops, programming, Hammond B3, harmonica, koto, tiny piano, voice
- Mick Karn / fretless bass, bass clarinet, dida, Greek voice
- Terry Bozzio / drums, percussion, bodhrán, dumbek, throaty French horn imitation

Releases information

CD CMP Records ‎- CMP CD 1006 (1994, Germany)

Recorded / mixed by Bruce Calder June 25 - July 16, 1993 at White Crow Audio, Burlington.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy DAVID TORN David Torn, Mick Karn & Terry Bozzio: Polytown Music

DAVID TORN David Torn, Mick Karn & Terry Bozzio: Polytown ratings distribution

(41 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DAVID TORN David Torn, Mick Karn & Terry Bozzio: Polytown reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Sick, dark and dangerous... This disc can give you nightmares, good ones that you will want to have over and over.... for me at least. This is one of my favorite Bozzio discs. His drumming is very crisp and original. A lot of dry sounding toms that offset Karn's slinky wet sounding fretless bass. David Torn's guitar has a psychotic strangled tone of an unearthly beast wailing for release from the clutches of a tar pit. Eerie and hypnotic.

This disc requires some very close listening, the main melodies are actually carried by the bass. Torn and Bozzio seem to solo over, under and through the melodies. Torn has this Frippian vibe to his playing, but more controlled and menacing. He rarely plays fast, more ambient and restrained, make that painfully restrained. The album sounds like something KC should have created with Bruford and Levin.

Honey Sweating is a great opener and introduces you the players and their strengths immediately. You'll also get the idea right away that this is something unusual and special. Snail Hair Dune is the longest track and sounds like the title, slow and dry with an Eastern vibe. This is the Abduction scene is pure King Crimson fury with Karn's bass growling through the effects. Bozzio lays down a heartbeat ostinato on the Red Sleep, which reminds me of a Poe's Tell Tale Heart. Creepy. Warrior Horsemen of the Spirit Thundering Over the Hills of Doubt to a Place of Hope wins the most imaginative song title award for 1994.

Polytown predates Black Light Syndrome by three years and really is more experimental and gives off a completely different effect. Don't confuse the two. Polytown = Dark and Scary / Black Light Syndrome = Adventurous and Fun. Either way, you win!

Recorded over a 15 day stretch, this disc is a great addition to any collection and should be played on rainy nights, when you are home alone and just finished watching Eraserhead.

Review by Kazuhiro
4 stars The person who is gripping a target key of some music character for this album might be Mick Karn. The member's activity since it acted about Japan that dissolved in the 80's expanded the range for very a variety of music characters.

Especially, David Sylvian and other members' frictions exactly extend to many fields with the difference of the directionality of music and have extended. Each musician and was ..Music.. opposite from all directions.

It might have been a place of a certain kind of expression for the musician to whom the existence of CMPRecords of Germany that had shown the index in their musician's activity at this time as directionality also expressed experimental music as an avant-garde like them.

If the activity at this time of them is seen, it will be clarified to connect "Cloud About Mercury" of the name of David Torn announced from ECM in 1987 with this Polytown. Torn originally requested the recording of Bass to Karn that went away from the activity of music a little in "Cloud About Mercury" though the line of Bruford-Isham-Levin participated in the recording. After all, it was not achieved. However, Torn at this and Karn have come in contact. Karn gradually showed the activity of music in various districts. And, the chemical reaction that was called this Polytown with Bozzio was caused.

It is ..composition of the tune that gives darkness and a heavy impression consistently.. finished in this album. It is evidence that the chemical reaction that they caused at the same time is splendidly expressed. The fact that offers the listener indeed high-quality ensemble though it had only for the period of a little rehearsal might be proof whose they are genuine musicians.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Advanced power trio with unorthodox sound. David Torn has his roots in fusion and jazz both, but he always adapts new technologies in his music. Terry Bozzio is well known drummer, but you will be surprised how great he is here on this album! Usually he is more on the back almost in all his participated projects,but there Torn gave him enough space to show his abilities, and it works!

Fretless bassist Mick Karn is known by his synth-pop band Japan, but later he had some experience working with David Torn as well. In all music there is slow to mid-tempo complex often liquid sound with rhythm breakages, electronic loops, ascetic guitar, aerial and very concentrated at the same time.

Always staying in the frames of jazz rock,trio explore genre's and new technologies' possibilities till the borders. Great thing is even if compositions are complex, you will hardly find complexity in the name of complexity on this album. Intelligent, inventive and tasty - its a best compliments I could say about this release.

Recommended for every modern jazz rock fan, bored from classical fusion power trios repetitive releases.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Apologies to David Torn and Terry Bozzio, but this is the type of album I had always wanted Mick Karn to do. For some time, it seemed like the only place you could hear Karns slithering fretless bass was behind moody, moaning new wave singers like David Sylvian, Peter Murphy and such. And the previous Torn album, "Door X", on which Karn appears, was marred by some ill advised vocal tracks.

But here we just have three extraordinary musicians playing some excellent onorthodox sounding fusion. Karn, of course plays his Middle Eastern influence fretless bass style, along with some eerie bass clarinet, while Torn plays some of his best off-kilter guitar lines. And Bozzio sounds as good as he did when he almost outplayed Jeff Beck on the "Guitar Shop" tour.

Along with "Cloud About Mercury", this is where to discover the music of David Torn.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. I don't usually complain about lack of variety but I wish they had changed things up a bit more on this one. Torn's guitar soundscapes dominate here and while I love Bozzio's drum work he seems to be holding back on purpose here throughout. The third member Mick Karn impresses me the most with his bass playing and he also adds bass clarinet I just wish there was more of it. This album did remind me of Torn's next album "What Means Solid Traveller?" only I do feel "Polytown" is a step up from that one but not as good as "Cloud About Mercury" from 1987. Torn does add some Hammond B3 organ and harmonica and Bozzio does play some ethnic instruments besides drums.

"Honey Sweating" features the bass and drums contrasting with the guitar expressions until it all settles in around 1 1/2 minutes. Back to the contrasts less than a minute later as themes are repeated. "Palms For Lester" is a top three for me. Drums lead early as we get plenty of atmosphere. Guitar expressions before 1 1/2 minutes and check out the bass! The guitar sounds really good starting before 3 minutes. It calms right down after 4 minutes, lots of percussion and atmosphere. The guitar starts to make some noise before 6 minutes and piano ends it.

"Open Letter To The Heart Of Diaphora" is another top three. This one's kind of trippy, dark and relaxed. The guitar starts to solo after 3 minutes then it quickly gets back to that earlier sound. "Bandaged By Dreams" opens with atmosphere, bass, guitar expressions and beats. A calm 2 minutes in as bass clarinet arrives but the guitar joins in quickly and dominates. Mournful guitar after 3 1/2 minutes and it brings Rypdal to mind. Love the guitar to end it. "Warrior Horsemen Of The Spirit Thundering Over Hills Of Doubt To A Place Of Hope" alrighty then. Okay it's my final top three despite the title. A ton of atmosphere as percussion and drums join in. Bass clarinet after 4 1/2 minutes to end it.

"Snail Hair Dune" opens with drums and atmosphere as guitar and bass join in. Loops and programming too on this repetitive track. It picks up some 4 1/2 minutes in with drums, bass and guitar. A calm 6 minutes in with drums and atmosphere before the bass and guitar return. Love the bass after 4 1/2 minutes. "This Is The Abduction Scene" has some nasty bass sounds along with drums and atmosphere. The guitar starts grinding it out 1 1/2 minutes in then it picks up. "Red Sleep" opens with beats and atmosphere before the organ and bass arrive.

"Res Majuko" is led by percussion, bass and guitar before the organ creates some atmosphere. The guitar is more aggressive after 2 minutes. "City Of The Dead" is the closer. Atmosphere and scraping guitar sounds. Some ethnic sounds here too. This is headphone music right here. Other sounds cry out and there's no real melody here but an experimental soundscape.

I just can't click on that 4th star despite being a pretty big fan of all three. Glad I finally got to spend some time with it though.

Latest members reviews

5 stars All three musicians on Polytown are pioneers as well on their instruments as in the entire musical field. Especially Mick Karn's contribution to the bass is unique and outstanding original. The way this product was recorded is very exploring and exciting and demands an extremily strong develo ... (read more)

Report this review (#38691) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 6, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars If there exists a genre that Polytown would fit into, it should be named "dark jazz". Polytown was recorded in 1993 and still sounds incredibly fresh 11 years later. The music throughout the whole record is claustrophobic, dark and sinister. Tempos are moderately slow and instrumentation spars ... (read more)

Report this review (#32024) | Posted by silentman | Thursday, October 14, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What happens when you take Zappa alum Terry Bozzio, former Japan bassist Mick Karn, and avante-god David Torn? A wild sonic ride through something that has pieces of jazz, pan-ethnic fusion, and instrumental prowess that few can touch. The compositions are sharp and well produced, with ample s ... (read more)

Report this review (#32022) | Posted by | Sunday, July 18, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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