Dave Harrington Group - Become Alive (LP)
Dave Harrington (of Darkside with Nicolas Jaar) debuts his first solo endeavor, the Dave Harrington Group, with Become Alive. Inspired by the classic jazz albums of the late '60s and early '70s, which experimented with contemporary studio recording techniques and effects, Harrington assembled about a dozen players and recorded days of improvised material, later manipulating it into something that, while fundamentally live, takes full advantage of Harrington's penchant for electronic manipulations of organic sound, applying the same conceptual approach he takes with his heavily effected live-sampling guitar work.
Each track is the unique product of Harrington's unorthodox musical make-up -- jazz training and ability; a collaborative, free-minded spirit; and a personal vision of mixing and post-production techniques to tie it together. "Each track is always me interacting with other people, sometimes just one or two . . . sometimes ten. There was flute, vibes, organ, fender Rhodes, guitar, bass, two drummers, percussion, sax . . . just full-on, over-blown energy. I took all that and treated it as raw material in the mixing stage . . . But when you have ten people in a room, you can only edit so much. Everything is in every microphone anyway -- it's all connected, so it's about turning it into whatever it wants to be." "It's all just about making improvisational music in a way that is personal and true," offers Harrington when asked about his specific influences.
"Derek Bailey is one name I will mention, though, because he has very little to do with what I do stylistically. He really wrote the book on free improvisation guitar playing -- it was not jazz, not swing and not rock, it was just pure personality. Nobody else could do it. That's something I hear in the records that most inspire me -- when you don't hear something and think, oh, well that's this thing, when you just hear the ideas coming straight at you."
Much of the initial mixing and editing of the album was done during the height of Darkside touring, as Harrington recalls: "Nico and I were improvising together on stage basically every night. It was a very focused period of time. Ultimately, this album is very personal. This is my first LP with my name on it. It's me and a dozen of my favorite musicians and closest friends. That was the spirit of making this record... Bringing people together and playing, improvising, being present."