Torn in 2008
26 May 1953|
Amityville, New York, U.S.
|Genres||Jazz, jazz fusion|
David M. Torn (born 26 May 1953) is an American guitarist, composer, and producer. He is known for combining electronic and acoustic instruments and for the use of looping.
Torn has contributed to recordings by artists including David Bowie, k.d. lang, John Legend, Madonna, Tori Amos, Bill Bruford, Tony Levin, Mick Karn, David Sylvian, Chocolate Genius, Michael Shrieve, Steve Roach, Patrick O'Hearn, Andy Rinehart, Matt Chamberlain, Meshell Ndegeocello and Don Cherry.
In addition to his composition work, Torn's recording have been featured in a number of films, including Friday Night Lights, Velvet Goldmine, Adaptation, The Big Lebowski, The Departed, Fur, The Hoax, Kalifornia, Traffic, Reversal of Fortune, Tibet, and Three Kings. He studied with Leonard Bernstein (within the "Music for Young Composers" series), as well as with guitarists John Abercrombie, Pat Martino, Paul Weiss and Arthur Basile. Torn works out of his personal studios, known as Cell Labs; occasionally, he uses the pseudonym "splattercell."
Torn was born in Amityville, New York, he is married to Linda B. Brecht-Torn (b. 1952), is the son of Lawrence J. Torn (b. 1926) and Rhoda G. Torn (1927-2010), the father of electronic musician Elijah B. Torn (b. 1979) and Cody M. Torn (b. 1983). He is the brother of Marsha Torn and Linda Torn, and he is a cousin of Rip Torn (b. 1931), Angelica Torn (b. 1964), Geraldine Page, Sissy Spacek, and Ina Garten, AKA The Barefoot Contessa.
Torn began his career with the Ithaca-based jam band Zobo Funn Band in the 1970s, and rose to prominence as a member of The Everyman Band and Jan Garbarek's quartet in the mid-1980s. He has recorded solo and group recordings for the ECM, Windham Hill, CMP, and 75 Ark.
In the 1990s, Torn was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, in his case, a life-threatening form of brain tumor. The surgery that followed left him deaf in the right ear but he remained able to compose, record, and play. He even mixes many widely available recordings himself, although according to him this requires sitting sideways to the studio speakers and "visualising the stereo aspects of sound" in his head rather than experimenting with them by ear.
In 2007, Torn released Prezens with Tim Berne. Jazzwise called the album "a vibrating collage full of shimmering sonic shapes, a dark, urban electronic soundscape – a potent mix of jazz, free-form rock and technology that is both demanding and rewarding."
In 2013, Torn performed as a guitarist on David Bowie's penultimate album, The Next Day—his third collaboration with the artist. The same year, Torn delivered a solo guitar performance and talk at TEDx Caltech 2013: The Brain. The presentation examined his brain tumor diagnosis and recovery.
Instruments and effects
As a session artist, composer, and producer, David Torn has experimented with many effects boxes, amplifiers, and instruments, and he has spoken with amplifier designers and pedal builders about their craft. In an interview with Premier Guitar magazine following the release of his solo album Only Sky, he shared an extensive list of the instruments and effects he uses. He plays a Ronin Mirari guitar with Foilbucker pickups and also lists a large number of amplifiers such as a Fryette Aether amplifier, and many guitar effects pedals including the TC Electronic Classic TC XII Phaser, Catalinbread Antichthon, DigiTech Whammy DT, and the Neunaber Stereo Wet Reverb.
- Best Laid Plans (ECM, 1984)
- Without Warning (ECM, 1984)
- Cloud About Mercury (ECM, 1987)
- Door X (Windham Hill, 1990)
- Storyville (Varèse Sarabande, 1992)
- Polytown (Times Square, 1994)
- Tripping Over God (CMP, 1995)
- Earthbeat (Azoto/Materiali, 1995)
- What Means Solid, Traveller? (CMP, 1996)
- GTR OBLQ (Knitting Factory, 1998)
- Splattercell – Oah (75 Ark, 2000)
- Splattercell – AH - ReMiKSiS (75 Ark, 2000)
- The Order (Superb, 2003)
- The Sin Eater (Edel, 2003)
- Two Plus Two (Lolo, 2004)
- Prezens (ECM, 2007)
- Only Sky (ECM, 2015)
Film and television
- Wonderstruck - (musician) (2017)
- David Bowie: The Last 5 years (BBC) - as himself
- The Light of The Moon - (composer) (2017)
- The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - (original song) (2016)
- Rosewater - (electric guitar) (2015)
- Drumline: A New Beat – (composer) (2014)
- That Awkward Moment – (composer) (2014)
- The Fifth Estate (film) - (guitarist) (2013)
- Admission – (musician) (2013)
- StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm - (composer) (2013)
- The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – (musician) (2012)
- Backwards - (composer) (2012)
- Jesus Henry Christ – (composer) (2011)
- Everything Must Go – (composer) (2011)
- The Lincoln Lawyer – (musician) (2011)
- Howl – (musician) (2010)
- Teenage Paparazzo – (composer) (2010)
- Glee – The Power of Madonna (2010) (writer: "What It Feels Like for a Girl" - uncredited)
- Saint John of Las Vegas – (composer) (2009)
- La Linea - The Line (composer)
- Twilight – (musician) (2008)
- The Wackness – (composer) (2008)
- No Country for Old Men – (musician) (2007)
- Lars and the Real Girl – (composer) (2007)
- Anvil! The Story of Anvil – (composer: additional music) (2007)
- Fur – (musician) (2006)
- Mannequins, Kate Gentile (2017) (mastering)
- Believe in Me – (composer) (2006)
- Love Monkey – (composer) (2006)
- The Departed – (musician) (2006)
- March of the Penguins – (musician) (2005)
- Friday Night Lights – (composer) (2004)
- S1M0NE – (musician) (2003)
- The Order – (composer) (2003)
- Blood Omen 2 – (musician) (2002)
- Adaptation – (musician) (2002)
- Heist – (musician) (2001)
- A Knight's Tale – (musician) (2001)
- Traffic – (musician) (2000)
- Three Kings – (musician) (1999)
- Snake Eyes – (musician) (1998)
- A Dangerous Woman – (musician) (1998)
- Smoke Signals – (musician) (1998)
- Love is the Devil – (musician) (1998)
- The Big Lebowski – (musician) (1998)
- Velvet Goldmine – (musician) (1998)
- The Craft (film) - (musician) (1996)
- Fear – (musician) (1996)
- Airheads – (musician) (1994)
- Kalifornia – (musician) (1993)
- SAMA, Lana Cencic (2018) (producer)
- Loving the Alien (1983–1988), (musician) 
- SONAR, Vortex (RareNoise, 2018) (producer)
- A Pouting Grimace, Matt Mitchell (2017) (producer, mixing, mastering)
- Incidentals, Tim Berne's Snakeoil (ECM, 2017) (producer, guitarist)
- Sky Music: A Tribute to Terje Rypdal, Various artists (2017) (contributor)
- Vista Accumulation, Matt Mitchell (2016) (producer)
- The Distance, Michael Formanek (2016) (mixing)
- Brand New Day, Donna Lewis (Palmetto, 2015) (producer)
- You've Been Watching Me, Tim Berne (ECM, 2015) (producer)
- The Next Day, David Bowie (Iso, 2013)
- Shadow Man, Tim Berne (ECM, 2013) (producer)
- Levin/Torn/White, Levin Torn White (2011)
- In the Pink, Donna Lewis (2008)
- Playground, Manu Katché (2007)
- Once Again, John Legend (Epic, 2006)
- Souls Saved Hear, Big Satan (2004)
- Legs to Make Us Longer, Kaki King (Epic, 2004)
- Reality, David Bowie (Iso, 2003)
- Jeff, Jeff Beck (Epic, 2003)
- Heathen, David Bowie (Iso, 2002)
- The Sevens, Tim Berne (2002)
- Science Friction, Tim Berne (2002)
- Scarlet's Walk, Tori Amos (2002)
- Life on a String, Laurie Anderson (Nonesuch, 2001)
- Oil Tan Bow, Douglas September (2001)
- Waters of Eden, Tony Levin (Narada, 2000)
- B.L.U.E. Nights, Bruford Levin Upper Extremities (2000)
- Music, Madonna (2000)
- Seven Veils, Robert Rich (Hearts of Space, 1998)
- Bruford Levin Upper Extremities (Discipline Global Mobile, 1998)
- Drag, k.d. lang (1997)
- To the Bone, Bon (Lolo, 1996)
- Thrive, Gongzilla (Lolo, 1996)
- Jason's Chord, Andy Rinehart (1995)
- Aural Gratification Volume 1, (various) (Aural Gratification, 1995)
- 3 Pound Universe, Wes Martin (1995)
- The Snake Music, Mark Nauseef & Miroslav Tadić (CMP, 1994)
- Building the Colossus, Happy Rhodes (Aural Gratification, 1994)
- Tamna Voda, Dark (CMP, 1992)
- Lonely Universe, with Michael White, Michel Lambert, and Mick Karn (CMP, 1991)
- Mark Isham, Mark Isham (Gold Rush, 1990)
- Stilleto, Michael Shrieve (1989) (musician)
- Castalia, Mark Isham (Virgin, 1988)
- Secrets of the Beehive, David Sylvian (Virgin, 1987)
- It's OK to Listen to the Gray Voice, Jan Garbarek (ECM, 1985)
- Without Warning, Everyman Band, Everyman Band (ECM, 1985)
- Everyman Band, Everyman Band (1982)
- "david torn official site". Davidtorn.net. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
- "David Torn, Jazz Events".
- "David Torn - Fate is not completely decided". Innerviews. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
- "David Torn: ECM Records release celebration".
- "David Bowie's Guitarist Talks 'The Next Day' Album: 'I've Been Under A Gag Order For Six Months'". Huffingtonpost.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
- "David Torn | tedxcaltech.com". Tedxcaltech.caltech.edu. 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
- 04, Jason Shadrick June; 2015. "David Torn: Alone at Last". Retrieved 2016-08-18.
- "David Torn | Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
- "ProgDay Sonar Page". www.progday.net. Retrieved 2017-08-28.
- "No Country For Old Men". Carter Burwell. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
- "David Torn: Credits".
- "Velvet Goldmine". Carter Burwell. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
- "David Torn - Filmography - Movies & TV - NYTimes.com". Movies.nytimes.com. 2007-01-18. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
- "Lana Cencic". Lana Cencic. Lana Cencic Official Site. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
- "David Bowie Box Set Reveals Darker, Revamped 'Beat of Your Drum'". Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
- Fordham, John (2017-08-24). "Tim Berne's Snakeoil: Incidentals review – creative and visceral live set". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-08-27.
- Fordham, John (2017-08-24). "Various artists: Sky Music: A Tribute to Terje Rypdal review – all-star cast in pulsating tribute". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-08-27.
-  Archived December 12, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Andy Rinehart - Isn't being wrong right?". Innerviews. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
-  Archived December 12, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to David Torn.|
- Official site
- David Torn interview with Anil Prasad of Innerviews (1990)
- David Torn interview Anil Prasad of Innerviews (1995)
- David Torn interview Anil Prasad of Innerviews (2001)
- David Torn interview Anil Prasad of Innerviews (2012)
- Electronic Musician profile (2001)
- Review of prezens at JazzChicago.net