Sun Of Goldfinger

David Torn, Tim Berne, Ches Smith

CD18,90 add to cart
LP24,90 out of print
EN / DE
Guitarist-composer David Torn, a longstanding ECM artist, has enjoyed a particularly fruitful 21st-century with the label, releasing two albums under his own name – the solo only sky and quartet disc prezens – in addition to producing records by Tim Berne and Michael Formanek. With Sun of Goldfinger, Torn returns in a trio alongside the alto saxophonist Berne and percussionist Ches Smith (a member of Berne’s Snakeoil band who made his ECM leader debut in 2016 with The Bell). The Torn/Berne/Smith trio, also dubbed Sun of Goldfinger, features alone on two of this album’s three intense tracks of 20-plus minutes; the vast sonic tapestries of “Eye Muddle” and “Soften the Blow” – each spontaneous group compositions – belie the fact that only a trio is weaving them, with live electronics by Torn and Smith expanding the aural envelope. The third track, the Torn composition “Spartan, Before It Hit,” showcases an extended ensemble with two extra guitars, keyboards and a string quartet; it’s an otherworldly creation, ranging from hovering atmospherics to dark-hued lyricism to storming, sky-rending grandeur. The words of LondonJazz, reviewing Sun of Goldfinger live, also suit the band’s debut on record: “This is dangerous music – at times angry, at others blissed-out and illuminating – with its thunderous rumblings… delivering not so much a wash of sound, more a tidal wave.”
Der Gitarrist, Komponist und langjährige ECM-Musiker David Torn hat mit dem Label bisher ein besonders fruchtbares 21. Jahrhundert erlebt, in dem er zwei Alben unter seinem eigenen Namen veröffentlichte – die Solo-Aufnahme only sky und doe Quartett-Platte prezens – sowie Alben von Tim Berne und Michael Formanek produzierte.
Mit Sun of Goldfinger kehrt Torn in einem Trio an der Seite des Altsaxophonisten Berne und des Schlagzeugers Ches Smith zurück. Das Torn/Berne/Smith-Trio, auch Sun of Goldfinger genannt, ist allein auf zwei der drei intensiven über 20 Minuten langen Tracks dieses Albums zu hören; die ausgedehnten Klangteppiche von "Eye Meddle" und "Soften the Blow" – jeweils spontane Gruppenkompositionen – täuschen darüber hinweg, dass nur ein Trio sie webt, wobei Live-Elektronik von Torn und Smith den Klangraum noch zusätzlich erweitert.
Der dritte Track, die Torn-Komposition "Spartan, Before It Hit", präsentiert ein erweitertes Ensemble mit zwei zusätzlichen Gitarren, Keyboards und einem Streichquartett; es ist eine entrückte Kreation, die von schwebenden Atmosphären über dunkel gefärbte Lyrik bis hin zu stürmischer, himmelbrechender Erhabenheit unterschiedlichste Stadien durchläuft.
Featured Artists Recorded

2015-2018

  • 1Eye Meddle
    (Ches Smith, David Torn, Tim Berne)
    23:55
  • 2Spartan, Before It Hit
    (David Torn)
    22:10
  • 3Soften The Blow
    (Ches Smith, David Torn, Tim Berne)
    22:50
Typically, the band known as Sun of Goldfinger exists purely in the moment. Consisting of saxophonist Tim Berne, guitarist David Torn and drummer Ches Smith, the trio finds these world-class improvisers roaming freely among musical zones ranging from hard-hitting avant-rock to delicate ambient jazz. While there’s plenty of room for spontaneity on the band’s upcoming debut album, Sun of Goldfinger, out March 1st on ECM, one track, “Spartan, Before It Hit,” takes a more meticulous approach, yielding magical results.
Hank Shteamer, Rolling Stone
 
This is music that defies categorization. A hybridization of jazz, rock and ambient? Maybe. Play it loud.
Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz
 
As with all Torn-led projects, there is so much going on submerged below the surface because the textures he creates are so detailed, you could listen to this a hundred times and still not sufficiently dissect the music. That esoteric quality of pieces shaped from sounds conjured up in the moment by elite improvisation specialists makes the supremely creative Sun of Goldfinger unlike anything else out there.
S. Victor Aaron, Something Else Reviews
 
The three-song album presented here is a must-have for fans of new music, allowing elements of jazz, rock, and avant-garde to blend under scrupulously burning arrangements and engrossing impromptu creations. […] It’s phenomenal to see how the structural discipline and adventurous freedom work so well together […].You’ll find three creative individuals speaking in their own languages and fusing different elements to conjure a unique collective atmosphere that unveils all their musical intelligence. They are master colorists working from different angles of time and space. […] Sun of Goldfinger is pure teamwork and nothing short of remarkable. Their unmissable debut album is powerful, it grabs you hard and you rise with it.
Filipe Freitas, Jazz Trial
 
They open a hole in the sonic universe that expels the toxins of convention and predictability. This is a hell of a recording, packed with high-risk playing, with raging, careening soundscapes.
Ted Drozdowski, Premier Guitar
 
The music is at various times driving, frenetic and elaborate. […] No question Torn deserves top billing on this disc […]. But Berne and Smith are every bit as powerful.
Kevin Press, Bad Press Blog
 
Three legendary collaborative improvisers, SoG’s avant jazz ambiance unfurls zero-gravity calamities into deep-space meditations. Don’t miss what is sure to be a breath-taking display of meta-musical grooves.
John Noyd, Maximum Ink
 
New York abstractionists David Torn, Tim Berne and Ches Smith, unfold breathtaking electro/acoustic sound-paintings (augmented on one track by pianist Craig Taborn, plus strings and extra guitars).
John Fordham, The Guardian
 
‘Sun of Goldfinger’ is a masterpiece of spontaneous collaboration.
Michael Toland, Rock & Roll Globe
 
First, these are among the most inspiring musicians on the planet performing at the highest level […] I haven’t marveled at anything else more than SoG this year. Get this in your life as soon as possible!
Kevin Coultar, In On The Corner
 
‘Sun of Goldfinger’, Torn’s 14th album and a collaboration with saxophonist Tim Berne and percussionist Ches Smith, is among his most sprawling and fascinating recordings. Comprising three twenty-plus-minute compositions (and improvisations), each of vastly different sonic makeup, Sun of Goldfinger is as much an immersive sonic experience as it is a showcase for three of contemporary jazz’s most interesting soloists. […] ‘Sun of Goldfinger’ is consistently unpredictable and thrilling and often quite gorgeous.
Jeff Terich, Treblezine
 
Der Amerikaner David Torn zählt zu den am sträflichsten unterschätzten Innovatoren auf der elektrischen Gitarre der letzten 30 Jahre […] Sein neues, im Trio mit Saxofonist Tim Berne und Drummer Ches Smith eingespieltes Album ‚Sun Of Goldfinger‘ ist ein komplexes Meisterwerk. Die drei Longtracks (jeder über 20 Minuten lang) vereinen diverse Formate von Live-Improvisation bis zu spontaner Klangmanipulation in Echtzeit. Die Songs klingen so neu und unverbraucht, dass sich Torn nicht einmal auf sich selbst zu beziehen scheint. […] Als Gast ist Pianist Craig Taborn an diesem Klangfest zwischen unbändigem Free Jazz, meditativem Rockjazz und Minimal Music beteiligt.
Wolf Kampmann, Eclipsed
 
Faszinierend ist, wie sich laufend die Texturen ändern, wie Sounds in der Schleife kreiseln, wie sich aus diffusem Klangwust Strukturen herausschälen, wie sich höllisch intensive Soli ihren Weg bahnen. Zum Beginn des zweiten Stücks wird es friedvoll, fast meditativ. Doch es ist nur die kurze Ruhe vor dem Sturm. Schnell brauen sich bedrohliche Klangwolken zusammen und entladen sich dann. Was für ein aufwühlendes Klangabenteuer.
Ssirus W. Pakzad, Jazzthing
 
Torn, Berne & Smith machen auf diesem Album Musik mit Zutaten aus allen nur denkbaren musikalischen Schubladen. Das klingt wie Filmmusik, wie eine Free-Rock-Session, wie Elektronik-Gefrickel, wie ein durchgeknalltes Jazz-Trio. Die drei epischen Stücke des Albums sind Klangskulpturen, trotz ihrer mäandernden Struktur in sich schlüssig und in jeder Sekunde spannend. ‚Sun of Goldfinger‘ ist tatsächlich so etwas wie ein Zukunftsentwurf des Jazz.
Bernhard Jugel, Bayerischer Rundfunk
 
Bei ‚Sun of Goldfinger‘ nun steht die Klangästhetik Torns vernehmlich im Zentrum, um die Grenzen zwischen Noise, Free Jazz, Dark Ambient, Dub und Neuer Musik zu durchlöchern. Mit einer Vielzahl von Effektgeräten, Live-Sampling und Loops produziert er komplexe, erhabene Soundräume, in denen sich der Saxophonist Berne ohne Zuhilfenahme von Devices mal ausgedehnt solierend, mal durch kraftvoll repetitive Motive behauptet. Dritter im Bunde ist dann Smith am Schlagzeug, der sich nur ganz sporadisch aufs begleitende Timekeeping verpflichten lässt und lieber einfallsreich mit Electronics und diversen Perkussionsinstrumenten am gewünschten ‚Ocean of Sound‘ mitstrickt. […] Play loud, aber am besten mit Kopfhörern, um nichts zu verpassen! Denn hier biegen ständig neue, seltsame Geräusche um die Ecke, bei denen nicht immer ausgemacht ist, wer sie gerade wie erzeugt. Beim mittleren Track, einer Komposition von Torn mit dem Titel ‚Spartan, Before it Hit‘, wird das Trio dann um zwei E-Gitarren, ein Streichquartett und den Pianisten Craig Taborn (noch so ein alter Bekannter des Trios) erweitert, und zunächst scheint es auch etwas geordneter und ruhiger zuzugehen, aber nach circa acht Minuten schraubt sich ein entfesselter, aber niemals außer Kontrolle geratender, sondern präzise ins Werk gesetzter Mahlstrom aus Free-Jazz-Saxophon, Gitarrenfeedback, Powerschlagzeug zu immer neuen Schichten kakophonischer Intensität hoch, um dann in seine Einzelteile zu zersplittern, dabei immer umwölkt von nachklingenden akustischen Schatten aus den diversen Apparaten. Beeindruckend. Respekteinflößend. Und was für ein Spaß!
Ulrich Kriest, Junge Welt
 
‚Sun of Goldfinger‘ contains two collective improvisations and a single composed piece, all heavily reshaped after the fact by Torn, whose mastery of the studio easily  is the equal of his guitar wizardry. […] the album’s middle track, ‘Spartan, Before It Hit’, is its most elaborate, as the ensemble is augmented by a string quartet, two additional guitarists and a piano. While the guests appear only briefly, and not simultaneously, they make the most of their moments. When the piano and guitars come in at the nine-minute mark, the sound is positively apocalyptic, wiping away all that’s come before.
Philip Freeman, Downbeat (4 ½ Stars)
 
Es gibt lyrische Passagen, dramatische Momente, orientalische Anklänge – alles jedoch weit entfernt vom Alltäglichen und Trivialen. Ein ganz besonderes Erlebnis.
Hans-Jürgen Schaal, Jazzthetik
 
Sun of Goldfinger has constructed music which must be confronted head-on, with foresight and focus. This is album is a rare combination of the fantastic and futuristic, with music truly of in-the-present-moment.
Doug Simpson, Audiophile Audition
 
Nach zwei kollektiven Gruppenkreationen im elektronisch erweiterten Trio und einer verbindlicher ausgeschriebenen Komposition von Torn für die Band – mit zusätzlichen zwei Gitarren (Mike Baggetta und Ryan Ferreira), Craig Taborn am e-Piano und dem Scorchio-Streichquartett – liegt der Hörer entweder nach so viel Dauer-Power schweißüberströmt in den Seilen. Oder aber er fliegt beschwingt, wenn es ihm gelingt, den dreimal über zwanzigminütigen Diskurs bei aller gelegentlicher Erdenschare als ein ebenso intelligentes wie ausgelassenes Spiel zu hören; Musik mit viel repetitiver Insistenz, aber ebenso ausgeprägtem, wenn auch bei allem krachenden Fortefortissimo feingewirktem, Witz.
Peter Rüdi, Weltwoche
 
This album consolidates the ongoing working relationship between guitarist Torn and maverick saxophonist, Tim Berne, and what is interesting is how these two unlikely bedfellows bring their disparate musical stylings together to make this most raucously compelling recording. Tim Berne’s alto lines often remain aloof and almost detached from proceedings, either working towards the guitar and electronics before backing away, or steadfastly declaring independence and pursuing his own path rather than actively seeking common ground. This is a long album and comprises of just three long compositions that all exceed the twenty minute mark. Two feature the trio and sandwiched between these is ‘Spartan, Before It Hit’ featuring an augmented line up featuring Craig Taborn, a string quartet and a two guitarists. […]The highlight of the set is augmented line up on ‘Spartan, Before It Hit’, that manages to build on the music of the trio without muddying the waters, with the additional instruments finding their place in an already dense musical jungle. This is achieved by the textural nature of Torn’s music being enhanced by the additional musicians and a stronger emphasis on melody, add the component parts that make the melodic content stand out, yet still providing room to push at the boundaries of the composition. This has resulted in an invigorating piece of music that is never permitted to lose focus, employing a methodology of containment rather than restraint on the musicians  in a structured framework that is packed with incident.
Nick Lea, Jazz Views
David Torn, a longstanding ECM artist, has enjoyed a particularly fruitful 21st-century with the label, releasing two albums under his own name – the solo only sky and quartet disc prezens – in addition to producing records by Tim Berne and Michael Formanek. With Sun of Goldfinger, Torn returns in a trio alongside the alto saxophonist Berne and percussionist Ches Smith (a member of Berne’s Snakeoil band who made his ECM leader debut in 2016 with The Bell). The Torn/Berne/Smith trio, also dubbed Sun of Goldfinger, features alone on two of this album’s three intense tracks of 20-plus minutes; the vast sonic tapestries of “Eye Muddle” and “Soften the Blow” – each spontaneous group compositions – belie the fact that only a trio is weaving them, with live electronics by Torn and Smith expanding the aural envelope. The third track, the Torn composition “Spartan, Before It Hit,” showcases an extended ensemble with two extra guitars, keyboards and a string quartet; it’s an otherworldly creation, ranging from hovering atmospherics to dark-hued lyricism to storming, sky-rending grandeur.
 
Sun of Goldfinger first came together in 2010, with an invitation from Berne for Torn to join the saxophonist and a young drummer for a gig in Brooklyn. “It was intriguing from the start,” Torn recalls. “I’ve had a close friendship and deep musical relationship with Tim since the ’90s, and playing live with him is always special – we push each other into new territory. And that drummer turned out to be Ches, and I thought he was really something, just burning. We played a lot shows as a trio: from Colorado to Brazil, as well as across New York City – it was a lot of fun. But when we toured Europe in 2017, that’s when it really came together. I’ve never played anything that sounds or feels quite like this.”
 
The nearly 25-minute length of each track on Sun of Goldfinger mirrors the exploratory intensity of the trio live. Torn – who helmed the sessions in multiple New York studios – culled the high-impact tracks “Eye Muddle” and “Soften the Blow” from lengthy group improvisations. These two Sun of Goldfinger pieces saw him using the mixing process as “just a gigantic reveal – the goal being to bring to light for the listener, sonically speaking, all that was going on in the studio with the three of us,” he says. “Between our hands and our feet, Ches and I were creating a lot of sounds. He was burning on the drums, as ever, but he was also employing his own electronics.
 
“All those sounds Ches and I are creating also give Tim something to really play off in his solos, opening a door for him to use his extended techniques, particularly high harmonics, to create sonic effects of his own, even on a purely acoustic instrument,” Torn continues. “Then there’s his ability to drive the rhythmic pulse. He’s almost unique among saxophonists in the way he can drive a rhythm. There are also episodes in ‘Spartan, Before It Hit’ of that lyricism in Tim’s playing that I’ve been trying to accent on the more recent Snakeoil records.”
 
This album centerpiece, “Spartan, Before It Hit,” is a kaleidoscopic epic, one that expands the trio into a tentet – with the addition of two more guitarists, Mike Baggetta and Ryan Ferreira (who performs in the expanded edition of Snakeoil), keyboardist Craig Taborn (who has released several acclaimed albums as a leader on ECM) and a string quartet. This track is a blend of composition and improvisation, with the improv reflecting and extending Torn’s written material. He then used the mix as part of the compositional process, crafting a dream-like whole.
 
Reflecting on Sun of Goldfinger, Torn says: “This isn’t jazz music or rock music. I really can’t put it into any genre classification – it’s just music made by people who care deeply about what we’re expressing and how we’re expressing it, however abstract it may feel on first listen.”
 
*
 
Across a career as a guitarist, composer, improviser, producer and soundscape artist, David Torn has worked with innovators in jazz (Jan Garbarek, The Bad Plus), film music (Ryuichi Sakamoto, Carter Burwell) and rock (David Bowie, Jeff Beck, David Sylvian). Torn’s association with ECM has included the 1987 album Cloud About Mercury, featuring him alongside trumpeter Mark Isham and the latter-day King Crimson rhythm section of Tony Levin and Bill Bruford. It was the sort of music that led Guitar Player magazine to declare Torn “one of music’s Top 50 guitarists, ever.” Other Torn releases on ECM include Best Laid Plans, with drummer Geoffrey Gordon, and two albums with the Everyman Band; the guitarist also featured on Garbarek’s It’s OK to Listen to the Gray Voice.
 
All About Jazz called Torn’s 2007 album prezens  “the most fully realized of his career… boldly adventurous.” Jazzwise described this record – featuring the guitarist alongside saxophonist Tim Berne, keyboardist Craig Taborn and drummer Tom Rainey – 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.” The guitarist’s follow-up to prezens was the 2015 solo album only sky, which The New York City Jazz Record praised for its rare combination of “realism and surrealism.” Torn has also produced and mixed Berne’s ECM albums Shadow Man (2013), You’ve Been Watching Me (April 2015) and Incidentals (2017), as well as bassist-composer Michael Formanek’s large-ensemble disc, The Distance (2016).
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