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DARCY JAMES ARGUE'S SECRET SOCIETY: Infernal Machines

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DARCY JAMES ARGUE'S SECRET SOCIETY: Infernal Machines album cover
01
Phobos
Artist: Jon Wikan
11:02
 
02
Zeno
Artist: Ryan Keberle
7:14
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03
Transit
7:01
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04
Redeye
Artist: Sebastian Noelle
10:12
 
05
Jacobin Club
Artist: Sam Sadigursky
10:55
 
06
Habeas Corpus
Artist: James Hirschfeld
10:57
 
07
Obsidian Flow
Artist: Erica von Kleist
9:40
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Album Information
EDITOR'S PICK

Total Tracks: 7   Total Length: 67:01

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spacious, textured, raucous

cog71

Dub, Dark Shadows, a high-school band blowing the theme from The Rockford Files, and that anarchist squat ensemble in "Pola X." And that's not even a minute into the first song, Phobos. For me, the warm tones of film music from the 70s and aging Polaroid pictures remains a constant undertone to the album without preventing the Society from also effectively nodding to more traditional orchestras, be-bop, the wide open floating sound of Bill Frisell (on Red Eye) or imaging some noir film to accompany the mini-score of Jacobin Club. Check out the NPR interview with Argue for the real-life story of Habeus Corpus, and let Obsidian Flow not so much summarize as simply remind you of what you've been listening to throughout before the song, and the album, comes to its dramatic close. Then plan on catching the show live.

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Great writing and arranging

HSWT

There's definitely some interesting compositions and arranging going on here. My only complaint would be that Argue has not really found his own voice yet in that both his compositional style and arranging bear a very strong resemblance to composer/arranger Maria Schneider. Not that that's a bad thing as I love Schneiders' work and there is some very fine music on this album. It's just I don't hear much in the way of anything new that is definitively Argues' work, though possibly there's a bit more funk and rock influence here than in Schneider's approach. Still I do think Argue is definitely someone to keep a close watch on and this is a very fine effort well worth multiple listens.

eMusic Features

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Label Profile: New Amsterdam Records

By Jayson Greene, Senior Editor

Label Profile: New Amsterdam Records Ask the founders of New Amsterdam records what they are about, and they fumble and equivocate charmingly. It's not normally a good sign when a label's masterminds have a hard time articulating its mission, but most labels aren't New Amsterdam: After all, how would you sum up the animating principle behind an output that includes William Britelle's dreamy, prog-rock besotted opus Television Landscape; Matt Marks's Christian-music-and-Bollywood pop fantasia The Little… more »

They Say All Music Guide

Darcy James Argue is a fledgling modern jazz composer and conductor whose debut effort with his Secret Society is as impressive as any of his influences and predecessors. If you enjoy the efforts of Gil Evans, Bob Brookmeyer, Carla Bley, Maria Schneider, Guillermo Klein, NOJO, or Jason Lindner’s big band in modern times, you’ll surely enjoy this finely crafted effort from Argue, supported by a combination of New York veterans and newcomers. The combined layering of sounds, vibrant color palate, and marvelous inventive writing makes for some startling and satisfying original music played by some very impressive musicians. This is cryptic music as the titles suggest, with some religious overtones and expansive notions, but within the underground nature of the music springs forth new ideas and a commanding perspective. “Phobos” is a good example of ancient and futuristic ideals, as a percussion intro to mysterious horns in 7/8 to 4/4 funk is lined by the snarly electric guitar of Sebastian Noelle, leading to up and down dynamics. A well-constructed horn chart on “Zeno,” building from mezzo piano to forte, is accented by flutes and chattery bass or piano chords suggesting oceanic Mediterranean elements. The outstanding “Transit,” with trumpet soloist Ingrid Jensen, is altogether reverent, progressive, boppish, interactive, and full of delightful layers. Where “Redeye” is similarly spiritual and peaceful, it’s a calm before the storm, and “Jacobin Club” is thin and hymnal, more cautious than mellow or laid-back. The labyrinth, dark underground sound of “Habeas Corpus” continues the hushed, under-the-surface concept, while a slight 9/8 dance motif during “Obsidian Flow,” enhanced by the alto sax of Erica VonKleist, implies real images of true beauty that cannot be chemically accented or treated. Jazz mavens will recognize a few names like trumpeters Jensen, Seneca Black, and Laurie Frink, pianist Mike Holober, who leads his own progressive big band, bassist Matt Clohesy, and drummer Jon Wikan. Exploring liquid and stellar regions, Argue’s music is a stunning display in diversity within drawn out, developed themes, requiring a keen ear. It’s an exceptional example of new jazz music that deserves a broad forum for listening and appreciating, but don’t keep this secret to yourself. – Michael G. Nastos

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