Published Oct 04, 2016This is the third release from the internationally acclaimed avant-garde ensemble led by Canadian composer/conductor/bandleader Darcy James Argue. He's a Grammy-nominated artist with a grand musical vision and sharp intellect, and it has been surprising that his work hasn't received the Polaris consideration it deserves.
Argue has long been based in Brooklyn, but includes Canadian instrumentalists on his recordings (virtuoso trumpeter Ingrid Jensen shines on the opening and closing tracks). Given the name of his group, it's fitting that this typically adventurous effort addresses the conspiracy theories that flourish in the U.S. Themes tackled include the Cold War's red scare, UFOs, the Illuminati and Edward Snowden. Snippets of narration are integrated cleverly here, while the often-shifting musical textures help convey a sense of intrigue and anxiety that match the subject matter (the funky and Latin touches on "Dark Alliance" add refreshing variety).
Argue has 19 musical comrades involved (termed "co-conspirators"), and Real Enemies is heavy on horns, with woodwinds adding texture to this meaty and thought-provoking work. (New Amsterdam)