All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

368

Darcy James Argue's Secret Society: Infernal Machines

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
What's a guy to do when he has aspirations to form a big band in this day and age? Certainly the odds are against him; for one thing, there isn't much of a market for it, and the cost of taking that many musicians on the road (much less paying them) can be cost prohibitive. But if you're Darcy James Argue, you say to hell with it and form a big band anyway. The result is the Secret Society and its debut album, Infernal Machines.

The Secret Society bears little resemblance to swing bands of the past except in basic instrumentation. Argue envisions, in his own words, a society in which the big bands stuck around and evolved with the shifting landscape of music. While there have been notable big bands to thrust the music into the present (the Francy-Boland Big Band comes to mind) no one currently is making music that sounds this contemporary. It's easy to imagine that Argue has it right: this is what modern big band music should sound like.

The bedrock of the Secret Society approach is in the rhythm section, which is the easiest indication of where this unit breaks from the past. Jon Wikan employs the skittering drum work normally associated with electronica, and no tunes seem to be in a standard time signature; everything shifts around, stubbornly refusing to settle on a groove. The dark compositions are similarly unsettling; foreboding motifs, some of which never seem to find a resolution, played with cold precision. The solos are almost unnecessary, given that the goal here is a sustained mood and texture. This is music that sounds as if Miles Davis' In A Silent Way (Columbia, 1969) and Radiohead's Kid A (EMI, 2000) were somehow mixed together, with a few off-the-wall influences thrown in for extra flavor.

There's no doubt that Argue is an intriguing figure on the jazz (or whatever) scene, and one worth following. Infernal Machines suffers a little from a lack of variety; the concept is unusual, but there's a certain amount of sameness that pervades the record. Argue isn't quite there yet, and he's probably the type of musician who's unlikely to be satisfied with his current work, always reaching for the next great idea. But if he continues to develop, his next record will be a killer.


Track Listing: Phobos; Zeno; Transit; Redeye; Jacobin Club; Habeas Corpus (for Maher Arar); Obsidian Flow.

Personnel: Darcy James Argue: composer, conductor, ringleader; Erica vonKleist: flute, alto flute, soprano and alto saxophones; Rob Wilkerson: flute, clarinet, soprano and alto saxophones; Sam Sadigursky: clarinet, soprano and tenor saxophones; Mark Small: clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone; Josh Sinton: clarinet, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone; Seneca Black: lead trumpet; Ingrid Jensen: trumpet; Laurie Frink: trumpet; Nadje Noordhuis: trumpet; Tom Goehring: trumpet; Ryan Keberle: trombone; Mike Fahie: trombone; James Hirschfeld: trombone; Jennifer Wharton: bass trombone; Sebastian Noelle: acoustic and electric guitars; Mike Holober: piano, electric piano; Matt Clohesy: contrabass, electric bass; Jon Wikan: drum set, cajon, pandeiro, miscellaneous percussion.

Title: Infernal Machines | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: New Amsterdam Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Zeno

Zeno

Darcy James Argue
Infernal Machines

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
General Articles
CD/LP/Track Review
Megaphone
Read more articles
Real Enemies

Real Enemies

New Amsterdam Records
2016

buy
Brooklyn Babylon

Brooklyn Babylon

New Amsterdam Records
2014

buy
Brooklyn Babylon

Brooklyn Babylon

New Amsterdam Records
2013

buy
Infernal Machines

Infernal Machines

New Amsterdam Records
2010

buy
Infernal Machines

Infernal Machines

New Amsterdam Records
2009

buy

Related Articles

Read Brothers CD/LP/Track Review
Brothers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2018
Read The Fearless Flyers CD/LP/Track Review
The Fearless Flyers
by John Bricker
Published: September 24, 2018
Read Super Mood CD/LP/Track Review
Super Mood
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 24, 2018
Read Beheaded Totem CD/LP/Track Review
Beheaded Totem
by James Fleming
Published: September 24, 2018
Read New Hope CD/LP/Track Review
New Hope
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 23, 2018
Read The Nobuki Takamen Trio CD/LP/Track Review
The Nobuki Takamen Trio
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 23, 2018
Read "Reaching Out" CD/LP/Track Review Reaching Out
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 18, 2018
Read "Variety of Rhythm" CD/LP/Track Review Variety of Rhythm
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 10, 2018
Read "The Search Deluxe Reissue" CD/LP/Track Review The Search Deluxe Reissue
by Doug Collette
Published: April 29, 2018
Read "Kanata" CD/LP/Track Review Kanata
by Chris Mosey
Published: May 5, 2018
Read "Body and Shadow" CD/LP/Track Review Body and Shadow
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 26, 2017
Read "Zero" CD/LP/Track Review Zero
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 16, 2018