Darcy James Argue's Secret Society is about to record Brooklyn Babylon, the much-anticipated followup to our Grammy-nominated debut. This album will include all of the music from the acclaimed multimedia performance Brooklyn Babylon, co-created by visual artist Danijel Zezelj and yours truly, Darcy James Argue. The recording sessions will take place from June 19-21, 2012 and the album will be released in April 2013 on New Amsterdam Records.
Brooklyn Babylon tells the story of a future Brooklyn in which plans are afoot to construct an immense tower — the tallest in the world — right in the heart of the city. Lev, a master carpenter, finds himself torn between ambition and and devotion to the neighborhood he loves when he is commissioned to build the carousel that will crown the Tower of Brooklyn.
The multimedia production, produced by Beth Morrison Projects, premiered at the 2011 BAM Next Wave Festival to overwhelming acclaim. "Fantastic… a massive, brass-heavy, sax-buoyant sound moves out of the group like a living wall" said Time Out New York. "Slashing fury and awesome full-ensemble precision" raved The New York City Jazz Record. And WNYC's Studio 360 proclaimed it "a masterpiece… a work of originality, power, and beauty that left an audience slack-jawed."
The music I created for this show, brought vividly to life by my Secret Society co-conspirators, is the culmination of everything we've been working towards since our first gig at (the late, lamented) CBGB seven years ago. I tried to draw on everything I love about Brooklyn's musical culture, filtered through my own personal sensibilities. It's rooted in contemporary jazz, but infused with dance-punk, post-rock, hip hop, doom metal, postminimalism, Balkan-inspired brass bands... reaching all the way back to 19th-century fairground music, waltzes, and marches. Despite these varied influences, everything is connected: musical ideas are introduced, transformed, and completely re-imagined over the course of the hour-long piece. It's a novelistic approach to long-form composition. It's music that tells one big story.
Recording sessions for Brooklyn Babylon will take place over three days in June at the legendary Avatar Studios. Since the initial run at BAM, we have continued to perform this music at home and on the road. It gets stronger every time we play it. We'll be hitting the recording studio immediately after we get back from our first-ever Brazilian tour.
As you might imagine, with a group this size, it's a challenge to get everyone in the same room at the same time for three consecutive days, but this recording includes all of my regular Secret Society co-conspirators. These are some of the finest musicians you'll find anywhere -- they've toured and recorded with artists like Ron Carter, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Sufjan Stevens, Anthony Braxton, John Scofield, Maria Schneider, Wynton Marsalis, Mos Def, Charlie Haden, and Esperanza Spalding. You've seen them on TV playing in the Saturday Night Live Band and heard them in the pit for Broadway's Porgy and Bess. Most play multiple instruments, and on this album, they are called upon to play everything from piccolo to contrabass clarinet to melodica to tapan. They are:
Let's get real: this isn't the kind of record you can make in an afternoon in someone's basement with a pair of microphones and a laptop computer. It's expansive, epic music and it needs a big, high-ceilinged studio with great acoustics, vintage ribbon and tube mics, a massive mixing console, and enough time to do it right. Every note matters, and we want you to hear it all, in vivid detail. That costs money: for the musicians, for the studio, for the engineers, for the producer, for mixing and mastering, and for designing and manufacturing a beautiful CD package, something you'll want to hold in your hands as you listen. None of this happens without your help.
We have several ways of thanking you for your support... but first, a couple of important notes:
ALL REWARD PACKAGES INCLUDE SHIPPING. Yes, anywhere in the world.
ALL CONTRIBUTIONS ARE FULLY TAX-DEDUCTIBLE. Our fiscal sponsor for this fundraiser is Beth Morrsion Projects, creative producer of the live multimedia incarnation of Brooklyn Babylon. [For those outside the USA, please check with your home country about whether contributions to US-based 501(c)(3) organizations are tax-deductible for you.]
With that out of the way, here are the rewards!
DIGITAL DOWNLOAD PACKAGE: On the album release day, you will receive a download of Brooklyn Babylon in 320kbps MP3 format. You will also receive a digital booklet designed by Danijel Zezelj.
[NEW] HIFI DIGITAL DOWNLOAD PACKAGE: We are now offering the option for FLAC or Apple Lossless download of the entire album, also with digital booklet by Danijel Zezelj. [All donations tax-deductible.] (If you have already contributed at another level but would prefer this option, you can modify your pledge.)
COMPACT DISC PACKAGE: You'll be among the first to receive the CD edition of Brooklyn Babylon, signed by me, enclosed in a beautiful 8-panel wallet designed and ilustrated by Danijel Zezelj.
GRAPHIC NOVEL PACKAGE: I'm thrilled to announce that Danijel Zezelj will be releasing a graphic novel edition of Brooklyn Babylon. This work contains over 100 pages of brand new black and white illustrations, bringing the story of Brooklyn Babylon to a new medium. I'd love for everyone to experience listening to the album with graphic novel in hand. This package not only includes a signed copy of the graphic novel, it also features a limited edition 24"x36" Brooklyn Babylon poster print, also illustrated and signed by Zezelj, and — of course — a signed CD copy of Brooklyn Babylon.
COCKTAIL PACKAGE: Ever since I inherited my granddad's beautiful vintage cocktail shaker, I've been an avid amateur mixologist. I love the way the classic cocktail proportions establish an ideal that allows for almost infinite variation. I also love to create cocktails that are tailored towards specific individuals, so tell me what kinds of beverages or flavors you enjoy, and I will devise an original cocktail recipe tailored to your personal proclivities. In this package, you'll also receive two tickets to the Secret Society performance of your choice. (Of course, if you don't live in NYC we can't guarantee we'll be coming to a city near you anytime soon, but if and when we do, rest assured that you and your concert companion of choice will be on the guest list!) Finally, you'll get a prominent shout-out in the CD liner notes. This package also includes the graphic novel, poster print, and a signed CD copy of Brooklyn Babylon.
CO-CONSPIRATOR PACKAGE: Here is where you can help underwrite the participation of the Secret Society musician of your choice. In the album liner notes, you'll get credit as follows: "[SPONSORED MUSICIAN] appears courtesy of [YOUR NAME]." You'll also receive a signed exclusive photo of the sponsored musician, taken at the recording sessions, along with a personalized thank-you card. Additionally, you'll receive the custom cocktail recipe, two tickets to a Secret Society show, the graphic novel, poster print, and signed CD copy of Brooklyn Babylon. IMPORTANT: please indicate which musician you would like to sponsor! (See personnel above.) Only one sponsor per musician, assigned on a first-come basis. MUSICIANS SPONSORED TO DATE: Ingrid Jensen, Jennifer Wharton.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER PACKAGE: If you've always dreamed of leading the romantic life of an Executive Producer, now is your chance to make those dreams a reality. Of course, you'll be listed as the Executive Producer of the Brooklyn Babylon album. In that capacity, we will invite you to attend the recording sessions at Avatar Studios in New York City, from June 19-21, 2012. You'll get a glimpse behind the scenes and get to experience the recording process for yourself. You'll also get two complimentary lifetime tickets to any and all Secret Society shows. Additionally, you'll receive a portfolio of one-of-a-kind large-format giclée prints, containing a selection of the incredible images Danijel Zezelj painted for the multimedia performance of Brooklyn Babylon. Finally: in addition to inventing an original cocktail just for you, I will mix and serve it for you and a small group of guests at a cocktail party hosted by you. (The cocktail party will necessarily have to take place in the New York City area. Also, Kickstarter regulations preclude offering alcohol as a reward, so I will supply the mixology but you will have to supply the ingredients.) This package also includes the poster print, graphic novel, and signed CD copy of Brooklyn Babylon.
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