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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: May 12, 2009
  • Label: New Amsterdam Records
  • Copyright: 2009 New Amsterdam Records
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B0026IUYTG
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 18, 2009
Format: MP3 Music
i am less adept at this then i would wish, so i am going to quote Newsweek. suffice it to say, this is a hauntingly gorgeous, beautifully and masterly spun web of sound. A+! *******"For a wholly original take on big band's past, present and future, look to Darcy James Argue, a 33-year-old Brooklynite who has composed a batch of manifestoes that draws on past legacies, and adds a little postpunk energy to boot. A onetime student of big-band visionary Bob Brookmeyer, Argue himself seems a natural product of an era in which genres can be shuffled with ease on iPod playlists. Talking with him, you go from discussing obscure Italian serialist composers to indie bands like TV on the Radio. The composer calls his music "steampunk big band," a reference to the niche art movement that fantasizes about modern tech innovations existing in the steam-powered era. That range is reflected--and, more important, is made frictionless--on Argue's debut record, "Infernal Machines." Argue's tunes can command your attention anywhere--no small feat in our media-saturated world. He and his 18-piece Secret Society band pull off the trick by pairing electro-influenced rhythms with fuzzed-out guitars, fearsome horns and chamber-music voicings in the woodwinds. For all this panstylistic erudition, though, Argue's music still swings hard whenever it wants. "Transit" explodes with an elaborate fire that recalls Mingus's "Let My Children Hear Music." The song "Jacobin Club," named after Robespierre's merry band, slinks with the sly wit of "Such Sweet Thunder"-era Ellington, proving Argue is no enemy of history. Listen on headphones, and you can hear a lot of rocklike production layering.Read more ›
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Hank Schwab on July 16, 2009
Format: MP3 Music
Infernal Machines
Honestly, this album doesn't floor me. But for a 34-year-old composer, this is heady stuff. Think Frank Zappa without the silliness, Danny Elfman without the hyperactivity, Gil Evans updated for the new millennium.
Jazz needs this kick in the rear. It's not mothballed history, it's not superficial smooth Jazz, it's not hard-to-listen-to avant garde.
Four stars on a project this ambitious is, for me, a vote of confidence in what's to come. I've seen the band live, and they are already better than the CD, they are evolving that fast. In particular, I love the sax solo by Erica von Kleist on Obsidian Flow. Buy this now, so you can tell everyone else in a couple years, Yeah, I've been listening to the Secret Society all along.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Scott Williams on January 2, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Overview:

Darcy James Argue has made one of the most impressive debuts in recent jazz history. The "secret society" is a jazz big band consisting of 18 members (Erica vonKleist, Sam Sadigursky, Rob Wilkerson, Mark Small, Josh Sinton, Seneca Black, Laurie Frink, Tom Goehring, Nadje Noordhuis, Ingrid Jensen, Mike Fahie, James Hirschfeld, Ryan Keberle, Jennifer Wharton, Sabastian Noelle, Mike Holober, Matt Clohesy, and Jon Wikan). While "Infernal Machines" is first and foremost a jazz album, Argue incorporates elements of rock and electronica to give the CD a ultra modern sound. At times it almost sounds like Pink Floyd. Infernal Machines is perhaps the best integration with electric guitar and a jazz orchestra that I've ever heard. Here Argue is not trying to fit the electric guitar into the jazz orchestra he crafted songs that make the jazz orchestra embellish what can be done with the electric guitar. The use of drums and guitar feedback is simply astonishing. Each song on the CD is five-star and is filled with lots of clever parts. Each song is unique and endearing in its own way, yet the album flows together beautifully as a whole.

Song Highlights:

Phobos: This song is named after the doomed moon of Mars, Phobos. The echoing drums that open this song and the album do a great job of setting the mood. Next, a sad melody of interwoven horns is combined with some subtle guitar feedback. After that the mood swells and a single note guitar line with slight distortion sets in. Around the 9 minute mark the song sounds like it is winding down, and then the electric guitar rips in again. What a start to the CD.

Redeye: Redeye showcases guitarist Sebastian Noelle.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By namae on June 3, 2009
Format: MP3 Music
Expanding the work of forebears Bob Brookmeyer, Maria Schneider and John Hollenbeck, Darcy James Argue has put together a program of works for the big band that go beyond Jazz. In pieces such as Habeas Corpus, we find the influence of Steve Reich along side rock beats as well as the solo-oriented improvisation associated with Jazz. More than just a grab bag of genres, however, Darcy's music has found a voice of its own. Do yourself a favor and buy this recording, it is just a taste of what is to come from this rising star.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Clark Battle on March 4, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am writing this review on my first listen to the disk. Usually I will wait to write a review after a few more listens to allow the music to gel in my mind. With this disk, there is no need. I know for a fact that it will be in high rotation on my "most listened to" stack for many years to come. There is not a single moment of this album that does not floor me. I have heard plenty of big band, even new stuff like Herbert, Kenny Wheeler and Carla Bley. This pushes it to a whole new level. By adding influences from outside of jazz Darcy James Argue has created something entirely new. The only thing I have heard remotely like it is Evan Flory Barnes' large ensemble and the Seattle New Brass Ensemble (both heard live). I hope this is the beginning in a new wave of big band music. Ten stars.
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