David Torn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
David Torn
David Torn.jpg
Torn in 2008
Background information
Born (1953-05-26) 26 May 1953 (age 63)
Amityville, New York, United States
Genres Jazz, jazz fusion
Occupation(s) Musician, producer
Instruments Guitar
Labels ECM
Website www.davidtorn.net

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.

He has produced a Grammy-winning recording for Jeff Beck, as well as recordings for Tim Berne, Drew Gress, Dave Douglas, Douglas September, and many others.

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.[1] Torn works out of his personal studios, known as Cell Labs; occasionally, he uses the pseudonym "splattercell."

The New York Times described Torn's 2015 solo release, Only Sky, as "[an abstract landscape that is] both immersive and deftly disorienting."[2]


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 six albums as a leader for the ECM, Windham Hill, CMP, and 75 Ark record labels. He has also recorded a series of CD-ROMs with looping and other ambient music and "integrated noise" materials that can be used as samples by other artists.

In 1992, 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 didn't rob him of the ability to compose, record and play. Torn 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.[3]

In 2006, Torn's film score for Believe in Me won the Best Score-award at the Jackson Hole Film Festival and in 2003, his score for the film The Order was nominated for a Grammy Award.

In 2007, Torn released Prezens, a full-band project with Tim Berne that Jazzwise described as “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.” [4]

In 2013, Kaivax, a community manager for Blizzard Entertainment, announced that Torn worked on the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm soundtrack, "adding burning leads and strange textures to the Zerg palette on several tracks."

In January 2013, Torn delivered a solo guitar performance and talk at TEDx Caltech 2013: The Brain. The presentation focused on his brain tumor diagnosis and subsequent recovery. A video of the event is available on the TEDx Caltech website.[5]

Torn is listed as a guitarist on the 2013 David Bowie album, The Next Day.[6] He also served as composer on the 2014 film That Awkward Moment.

Only Sky, a solo record and Torn’s first ECM release since 2007’s prezens, is set for release on May 5, 2015. A US Tour is planned for Spring 2015.[4]

Instruments and Effects[edit]

As a session artist, composer, and producer, David torn has experimented with many effects boxes, amplifiers, and instruments, and has taken the time to actively talk with amplifier designers and pedal builders about their craft. In an interview with PremierGuitar following the release of his solo album "Only Sky," David shared an extensive list of the Instruments and effects he uses. He currently 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.[7]


Solo recordings

Film and television[8]

Other recordings


  1. ^ "david torn official site". Davidtorn.net. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  2. ^ "David Torn, Jazz Events". 
  3. ^ "David Torn - Fate is not completely decided". Innerviews. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  4. ^ a b "David Torn: ECM Records release celebration". 
  5. ^ "David Torn | tedxcaltech.com". Tedxcaltech.caltech.edu. 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  6. ^ "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. 
  7. ^ 04, Jason Shadrick June; 2015. "David Torn: Alone at Last". Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  8. ^ "David Torn - Filmography - Movies & TV - NYTimes.com". Movies.nytimes.com. 2007-01-18. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  9. ^ "David Torn". LinkedIn. 
  10. ^ "That Awkward Moment (2014)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  11. ^ "No Country For Old Men". Carter Burwell. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "David Torn | Credits". AllMusic. 1953-05-26. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  13. ^ "Velvet Goldmine". Carter Burwell. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  14. ^ "The Big Lebowski (1998)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  15. ^ [1] Archived December 12, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ "Andy Rinehart - Isn't being wrong right?". Innerviews. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  17. ^ [2] Archived December 12, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]