Born in Amityville, NY in 1953 — the Year of the Horror — David Torn (aka, splattercell) is a guitarist, film-composer & producer, working with texture, high- contrast sound & spatiality & electronics in improvisational performance, music production & film-scoring since 1872.
Early life was filled with music & stories & electronic bits, his mother playing piano, radio always playing Motown whenever Broadway show-tunes & jazz weren’t playing on the old tube-driven stereo-system which his father had design-engineered for the Harman-Kardon company,
David took classical piano & drum lessons, until his mother gave him a nylon-string guitar; then, it was flamenco lessons, & soon after chord-melody playing. He was also enrolled in Leonard Bernstein’s “Music for Young Composers”-series.
Around 1973, David re-joined the Zobo Funn Band, an adventurous “underground” pan-idiomatic almost-pop group which became a 6-year-long, daily cooperative & a working foundation for his commitment to music. During that time, David also studied, primarily with one of his heroes, John Abercrombie, & also with Pat Martino.
In the fall/1979, he was invited by The Everyman Band to join with Don Cherry for just 10-days of Don’s 3-month-long European tour. After a concert or two, Don asked David to remain in the band for the rest of the tour; Don’s influence on David’s need to push the sound & role of his instrument to more personal & broader sonic regions was profound, especially in regards to improvisational “composition” & “re- orchestration”.
The importance of the musical & personal relationships with key people in David’s musical life are sometimes made obvious by time: many, many records with Manfred Eicher, with TIm Berne, 3+ records over 15 years with David Bowie, so much with Mick Karn, with Craig Street, so many records with Kurt Renker.
His own recordings include Best Laid Plans, Cloud about Mercury, Prezens & Only Sky (ECM), splattercell: OAH & remiksis (75 Ark), Tripping over God, What Means Solid, Traveller?, Polytown (CMP), Levin/Torn/White (LazyBones), DoorX (Windham Hill).
David’s contributive work has appeared on work with artists including Tim Berne, David Bowie, Jan Garbarek & Eberhard Weber, Jeff Beck, Mick Karn, David Sylvian, John Legend, Michael Formanek, Tori Amos, Madonna, Matt Mitchell, Meshell Ndegeocello, Jarboe, Laurie Anderson, Kaki King, kd lang, Chocolate Genius, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Tony Levin, Bill Bruford, Jennifer Maidman, Gerald Cleaver, Julie Slick, Samuel Hällkvist, Drew Gress, Harvey Valdes, etc.