Dave Harrington (ft. Chris Forsyth / Ryan Jewell / Spencer Zahn) “First Flight REDUX (Harrington Dub)”

I’m a longtime admirer of Chris Forsyth and all his various projects and last year’s live gem, First Flight, has been a late-night staple around here. Few guitarists can find that boogie like Forsyth whether it’s ripping through solo jaunts or in collaboration with groove giants Garcia Peoples. Whatever Chris Forsyth is putting out there, I’m going to be lapping it up.

With as much as I admire, First Flight, this total reimagining, First Flight REDUX, shocked me. Dave Harrington plays guitar and electronics on the original, but the mode here is off in another stratosphere. REDUX inhabits a world of possibility. Harrington isolates fragments of the original jams, layers in his own loops and recordings, and, ultimately, builds an ark.

Connections are tenuous throughout REDUX, with Harrington holding all these scraps, waving his arms like a robotic wizard to keep this world from drifting apart. Throughout, he’s the glue. “REDUX Dub #2” follows spacewave arpeggios and stuttering guitar leads across a deep bass canyon where the ground is invisible and gravity seems to be losing power fast as reeds holler out warnings. But the rhythm never gives way, plodding along with a purpose so Harrington can bring each element into alignment, lock them in, and jet off as the drums begin to glow. It’s all so damn satisfying.

Elsewhere, cavernous lounge vibes swim in abyssal seas like the short, potent “REDUX Dub #5” where airy keys pirouette around hand drum echoes. “REDUX Dub #6” soars, capturing some of the searing spirit of the original and adding jet fuel to propel the psych-infused explorations into future dimensions where the bass lives in deeper funk grooves and electronics celebrate the end of the world. Jungle sonic gymnastics fuse together with distant radio signals on “REDUX Dub #11,” where the countless percussive layers intoxicate, finding the right angle for the fuzzed-out guitars to attach. 

Haunted reverb opens the coda, “REDUX Dub #12,” before synths and guitars methodically cascade into a vaulted send-off. Flung in the rafters, digital confetti falls like tiny missiles that explode into stadium-sized vibrations where everyone is welcome to join the ride. First Flight REDUX is a monument to digging deep into the roots to create something new and exhilarating. Possibilities are endless.

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