This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001



In November 2011, composer Darcy James Argue and visual artist Danijel Zezelj presented the multimedia Brooklyn Babylon at BAM’s Next Wave Festival, an audiovisual commission documenting the building of a futuristic Brooklyn, coming at a time when Brooklyn was indeed beginning to go through a major transformation, particularly around BAM’s home in Fort Greene. Argue, a Vancouver native who resides in the World’s Greatest Borough, has now recorded the show’s wide-ranging score with his band, the eighteen-piece Secret Society, resulting in the vastly entertaining Brooklyn Babylon (New Amsterdam, April 30). The fifty-three-minute suite slides effortlessly from jazz, Klezmer, and power pop to psychedelia, Balkan folk, and swing and back again as it moves chronologically through such songs as “The Neighborhood,” “The Tallest Tower in the World,” “Construction + Destruction,” “Missing Parts,” and “Coney Island”; it also includes such empowering interludes as “Infuse,” “Enthrall,” “Bewail,” and “Arise.” The outstanding band features such performers as Erica von Kleist on piccolo, flute, alto flute, soprano sax, alto sax, and electronics, John Ellis on clarinet, bass clarinet, and tenor sax, Ingrid Jensen on trumpet, fluegelhorn, and electronics, Ryan Keberle on trombone, and Gordon Webster on acoustic and electric piano and melodica, with Argue as ringleader. It all comes together like the soundtrack for an unseen film that the listener gets to create in their head. In conjunction with the album, the Brooklyn-based Zezelj, who hails from Croatia, is publishing the limited-edition graphic novel Babilon. On April 20 at 10:00, BAMcafé Live will be hosting the Brooklyn Babylon album release party, a concert without the visuals; admission is free, and advance copies of the new record, Argue’s follow-up to his debut, 2009’s Infernal Machines, will be available for purchase.

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