Podcast 651: Dave Harrington
Details, but also ease.
Podcast 651: Dave Harrington
Details, but also ease.
Dave Harrington’s newest record, Tura Lura, is a collaboration with Jeremy Gustin and Spencer Zahn. It’s set in the New York experimental underground where he grew up attending shows at the old Knitting Factory and Tonic, and where his career began in the late ’00s. After attending Brown University, where he met Nicolas Jaar with whom he later formed Darkside, Harrington became a staple of the city’s improv scene, and also a member of several psychedelic, indie, and noise bands. After growing up as a bass player and studying jazz at the Harlem School of the Arts, he became a guitarist.
In the wake of Darkside’s success, Harrington’s profile blossomed and he went solo, releasing albums with his Dave Harrington Group—Become Alive (2016) and Pure Imagination, No Country (2019). He also dabbled in soundtracks for independent film and applied his freewheeling, psychedelic touch to the work of others.
With his latest work, Harrington has gone full circle: the bulk of Tura Lura was incubated in Bar Lunático, a local watering hole walking distance from his house, where he’d jam along with friends like Gustin and Zahn. They recorded the album in a house by the ocean, improvising without restraint. As with all Harrington’s work, the music moves fluidly between genres, without losing sight of abstract rock, jazz, and electronics. “We wanted to make music that spoke to the sociality and looseness that permeated our Lunático sets,” Harrington explains.
At one hour in length, Harrington’s XLR8R podcast tries to capture the same vibe as Tura Lura, in that it’s beautifully detailed, easygoing, and welcoming. It leans heavily on ECM Records, one of Harrington’s favorite labels, and it’s the first product of his new studio, featuring tracks that he’s been listening to during the lockdown period and those that inspired Harrington, Gustin & Zahn.
01. What have you been up to recently?
I’ve been working on a new batch of solo music and experimenting with some new pieces of gear. Also this past week I moved and have been re-building my entire studio. And I’ve been cooking a lot.
02. Which artists, labels, or releases have you been listening to?
As you can tell from the mix here, I’ve been listening to a lot of ECM, as usual. That and a lot of Grateful Dead live stuff mostly. Also some of my friends have new releases, or have been working on new music or releasing live/streaming/improv things lately, so I’ve been listening to their stuff: TG Memory Foam, Nate Mercereau’s gorgeous and heady weekly guitar/guitar synth meditations, Tim Mislock’s With Love… series on Soundcloud, with its beautiful and emotional slow-moving intricate ambient music, and my old friend Andrew Fox’s demos for his next record, which sound amazing.
03. You just released Tura Lura. What makes the Harrington, Gustin & Zahn project so enjoyable?
Harrington, Gustin & Zahn is such a joy of a band to be in. I just love playing with those guys; it’s so effortless and everybody gets to do their thing and the music kind of just arrives. Making the record was a treat because Jesse Harris produced it and he has such a light touch but so much deep focus; he really had a huge impact on the record, and on the way I approached the guitar work specifically. And of course, having Phil Weinrobe engineering and mixing is a total treat. He and I have worked on so much together the last few years and we really have a shared language.
04. When and where did you record this mix?
This mix was made in my new studio. It’s actually the first thing I’ve done here, now that I think about it.
05. How did you select the tracks that you’ve included?
I just wanted to put together things I like listening to, really. I wanted to reflect the quality that the Harrington, Gustin & Zahn record has, where you can just kind of put it on and choose your own level of engagement; if you want to listen in headphones and really focus, it can support that, but if you just want to put it on while you’re making dinner, it won’t ever disrupt your flow. Details, but also ease.
06. What’s next on your agenda?
I’m gonna keep chipping away at this solo music, read “The Incal,” and I’d like to re-watch “The Ninth Gate.”
XLR8R has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to the podcast offline you will need to subscribe to our Select channel, or subscribe to XLR8R+ to download the file. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.
01. The Neville Brothers “A Change Is Gonna Come” (A&M Records)
02. Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band “Improvisation” (Verve Records)
03. Joshua Abrams “The Ladder” (Eremite Records)
04. Charles Mingus “Oh Lord Don’t Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb On Me” (alternate version) (Atlantic Records)
05. Jon Hassell “Solaire” (ECM Records)
06. Stefano Battaglia “Pasolini” (ECM Records)
07. Marc Ribot “Black Trombone” (Tzadik Records)
08. Secret Chiefs 3 “Netzach” (Tzadik Records)
09. Nils Petter Molvaer “On Stream” (ECM Records)
10. Jeremiah Cymerman “Against The Grain” (Self-release)
11. Grateful Dead “Drums (live 5/6/81)” (Grateful Dead)
12. Ricardo Villalobos & Max Loderbauer “Reblazhenstva” (ECM Records)
13. Daniel Lanois “JJ Leaves LA” (Epitaph Records)
14. Bill Frisell “A Change Is Gonna Come” (Nonseuch Records)