Dave Harrington grew up immersed in jazz, from his father’s love of it, to later studying with Kelvyn Bell, Brad Jones, JD Parran, Daniel Bernard Roumain, and Dave Zinno. Upon his return to NYC after university, Harrington dove headfirst into his hometown of New York’s musical underworld, where scenes and bands rub together and cross-pollinate with abandon. From there, he fell into the electronic music milieu, collaborating with Nicolas Jaar on Darkside’s celebrated blending of techno, prog-rock and space disco.
For Become Alive, Harrington was inspired by the classic jazz albums of the late 60s and early 70s, which experimented with contemporary studio recording techniques and effects. He 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 – the same conceptual approach he takes with his heavily effected and live-sampling guitar work, applied to an entire group.
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. “This record is the result of improvising with different combinations of people, and then processing and re-sculpting those improvisations – isolating passages, turning them into something new, overdubbing layers of myself, maybe taking something from another piece and superimposing it out of its original context. But 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.”