Dynamic Maximum Tension

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Composer and bandleader Darcy James Argue and his Secret Society ensemble make their Nonesuch Records debut with Dynamic Maximum Tension. The album pays homage to some of Argue’s key influences with original songs dedicated to R. Buckminster Fuller, Alan Turing, and Mae West. Cécile McLorin Salvant joins the ensemble for “Mae West: Advice.” Dynamic Maximum Tension’s eleven tracks, on two CDs, also include a response to Duke Ellington’s “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue,” titled “Tensile Curves,” among other originals. Grammy Nominee for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.

Description

Grammy Nominee for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

Composer and bandleader Darcy James Argue and his Secret Society ensemble made their Nonesuch Records debut with Dynamic Maximum Tension on September 8, 2023. The album pays homage to some of Argue’s key influences with original songs dedicated to R. Buckminster Fuller, Alan Turing, and Mae West. Fellow Nonesuch artist Cécile McLorin Salvant, with whom Argue collaborated on her long-form musical fable Ogresse, joins the ensemble for “Mae West: Advice.” Dynamic Maximum Tension’s eleven tracks, on two CDs, also include a response to Duke Ellington’s “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue,” titled “Tensile Curves,” among other original songs.

The album track “Dymaxion”—a portmanteau of “dynamic maximum tension”—takes its name from the term coined by architect and inventor Fuller to describe his concept of using technology and resources to maximum advantage. “Dymaxion” is available today, June 29, along with this video from the song’s recording session.

Argue says of his inspiration for the music: “It feels like our culture today is headed in a profoundly dystopian direction. By engaging with figures like Buckminster Fuller, Alan Turing, and Mae West, I was trying to connect to a more optimistic time, trying to reclaim a sense of agency, trying to rekindle my faith in our ability to grab the future and shape it ourselves.”

Darcy James Argue, “one of the top big band composers of our time” (Stereophile), is best known for Secret Society, an eighteen-piece group “renowned in the jazz world” (New York Times). Argue brings an outwardly anachronistic ensemble into the 21st century through his “ability to combine his love of jazz’s past with more contemporary sonics” and is celebrated as “a syncretic creator who avoids obvious imitation” (Pitchfork).

Acclaimed as an “innovative composer, arranger, and big band leader” by the New Yorker, Argue’s accolades include multiple Grammy nominations and a Latin Grammy Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Doris Duke Artist Award, and countless commissions and fellowships. His prescient 2016 Real Enemies, an album-length exploration of the politics of paranoia, was named one of the twenty best jazz albums of the decade by Stereogum. Like Real Enemies, Argue’s previous recordings—his debut Infernal Machines and his follow-up, Brooklyn Babylon—were nominated for both Grammy and Juno awards.

ProductionCredits

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Produced by Alan Ferber, Brian Montgomery, and Darcy James Argue
Session Producer: Alan Ferber
Production Assistants: Eliana Fishbeyn and Martina Liviero
Recorded and Mixed by Brian Montgomery
Assistant Engineers: Ben Miller and Michael Hickey
Recorded at Power Station at BerkleeNYC Studio C, New York, NY, from August 29–September 2, 2022.
Mixed at Soundview Studio, White Plains, NY.
Mastered by Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound, Edgewater, NJ, from May 30–31, 2023.

Design and Illustration by Lawrence Azerrad

Album Status
Artist Name
Darcy James Argue's Secret Society
MusicianDetails

MUSICIANS
Darcy James Argue, composer, conductor, ringleader
Dave Pietro, piccolo (1-11), flute (1-11), alto flute (1-11), soprano sax (1-11), alto sax (1-11)
Rob Wilkerson, flute (1-11), clarinet (1-11), soprano sax (1-11), alto sax (1-11)
Sam Sadigursky, clarinet (1-11), tenor sax (1-11)
John Ellis, clarinet (1-11), bass clarinet (1-11), tenor sax (1-11)
Carl Maraghi, clarinet (1-11), bass clarinet (1-11), baritone sax (1-11)
Seneca Black, trumpet (1-11), flugelhorn (1-11)
Liesl Whitaker, trumpet (1-11), flugelhorn (1-11)
Matt Holman, trumpet (1-11), flugelhorn (1-11)
Nadje Noordhuis, trumpet (1-11), flugelhorn (1-11)
Mike Fahie, trombone (1-11)
Ryan Keberle, trombone (1-11)
Jacob Garchik, trombone (1-11)
Jennifer Wharton, bass trombone (1-11), tuba (1-11)
Sebastian Noelle, acoustic (1-11), electric guitar (1-11)
Adam Birnbaum, acoustic (1-11), electric piano (1-11)
Matt Clohesy, contrabass (1-11), electric bass (1-11)
Jon Wikan, drum set (1-11), cajón (1-11)
Ingrid Jensen, trumpet (1, 3-6, 8, 9, 11), flugelhorn (1, 3-6, 8, 9, 11)
Brandon Lee, trumpet (2, 7, 10), flugelhorn (2, 7, 10)
Sara Caswell, violin (10), hardanger d’amore (10)
Cécile McLorin Salvant, vocals (11)

reissues?
new-release
Cover Art
UPC/Price
Label
2CD+MP3
Price
17.00
UPC
075597903577
Label
96/24 HD FLAC
Price
13.00
UPC
075597903553
Label
MP3
Price
12.00
UPC
075597903539

Track Listing

News & Reviews

  • As part of Nonesuch Records's 60th anniversary celebrations, the 2024 Big Ears Festival lineup includes fifteen Nonesuch artists past, present, and future. Ahead of the festival, taking place in Knoxville, TN, March 21–24, we've got a playlist of music from all of those artists: Sam Amidon, Laurie Anderson, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Tyondai Braxton, Rhiannon Giddens, Mary Halvorson, Robin Holcomb, Wayne Horvitz, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Kronos Quartet, Brad Mehldau, Ringdown (Caroline Shaw and Danni Lee), Davóne Tines, Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, and Yasmin Williams. You can hear it here via Spotify and Apple Music.

  • Congratulations to all of the Nonesuch GRAMMY Awards nominees! We're celebrating with 25% off all of this year's nominated albums in the Nonesuch Store using code GRAMMY25 at checkout: Thomas Adès's Dante, performed by LA Phil and Gustavo Dudamel (Best Orchestral Performance, Best Contemporary Classical Composition, Producer of the Year, Classical); Darcy James Argue's Secret Society's Dynamic Maximum Tension (Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album); Julia Bullock's Walking in the Dark (Best Classical Solo Vocal Album); Rhiannon Giddens's You're the One (Best Americana Album, Best American Roots Performance); Cécile McLorin Salvant's Mélusine (Best Jazz Vocal Album; Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals); Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway's City of Gold (Best Bluegrass Album); andThe Blue Hour (Best Engineered Album, Classical).

  • About This Album

    Grammy Nominee for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

    Composer and bandleader Darcy James Argue and his Secret Society ensemble made their Nonesuch Records debut with Dynamic Maximum Tension on September 8, 2023. The album pays homage to some of Argue’s key influences with original songs dedicated to R. Buckminster Fuller, Alan Turing, and Mae West. Fellow Nonesuch artist Cécile McLorin Salvant, with whom Argue collaborated on her long-form musical fable Ogresse, joins the ensemble for “Mae West: Advice.” Dynamic Maximum Tension’s eleven tracks, on two CDs, also include a response to Duke Ellington’s “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue,” titled “Tensile Curves,” among other original songs.

    The album track “Dymaxion”—a portmanteau of “dynamic maximum tension”—takes its name from the term coined by architect and inventor Fuller to describe his concept of using technology and resources to maximum advantage. “Dymaxion” is available today, June 29, along with this video from the song’s recording session.

    Argue says of his inspiration for the music: “It feels like our culture today is headed in a profoundly dystopian direction. By engaging with figures like Buckminster Fuller, Alan Turing, and Mae West, I was trying to connect to a more optimistic time, trying to reclaim a sense of agency, trying to rekindle my faith in our ability to grab the future and shape it ourselves.”

    Darcy James Argue, “one of the top big band composers of our time” (Stereophile), is best known for Secret Society, an eighteen-piece group “renowned in the jazz world” (New York Times). Argue brings an outwardly anachronistic ensemble into the 21st century through his “ability to combine his love of jazz’s past with more contemporary sonics” and is celebrated as “a syncretic creator who avoids obvious imitation” (Pitchfork).

    Acclaimed as an “innovative composer, arranger, and big band leader” by the New Yorker, Argue’s accolades include multiple Grammy nominations and a Latin Grammy Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Doris Duke Artist Award, and countless commissions and fellowships. His prescient 2016 Real Enemies, an album-length exploration of the politics of paranoia, was named one of the twenty best jazz albums of the decade by Stereogum. Like Real Enemies, Argue’s previous recordings—his debut Infernal Machines and his follow-up, Brooklyn Babylon—were nominated for both Grammy and Juno awards.

    Credits

    MUSICIANS
    Darcy James Argue, composer, conductor, ringleader
    Dave Pietro, piccolo (1-11), flute (1-11), alto flute (1-11), soprano sax (1-11), alto sax (1-11)
    Rob Wilkerson, flute (1-11), clarinet (1-11), soprano sax (1-11), alto sax (1-11)
    Sam Sadigursky, clarinet (1-11), tenor sax (1-11)
    John Ellis, clarinet (1-11), bass clarinet (1-11), tenor sax (1-11)
    Carl Maraghi, clarinet (1-11), bass clarinet (1-11), baritone sax (1-11)
    Seneca Black, trumpet (1-11), flugelhorn (1-11)
    Liesl Whitaker, trumpet (1-11), flugelhorn (1-11)
    Matt Holman, trumpet (1-11), flugelhorn (1-11)
    Nadje Noordhuis, trumpet (1-11), flugelhorn (1-11)
    Mike Fahie, trombone (1-11)
    Ryan Keberle, trombone (1-11)
    Jacob Garchik, trombone (1-11)
    Jennifer Wharton, bass trombone (1-11), tuba (1-11)
    Sebastian Noelle, acoustic (1-11), electric guitar (1-11)
    Adam Birnbaum, acoustic (1-11), electric piano (1-11)
    Matt Clohesy, contrabass (1-11), electric bass (1-11)
    Jon Wikan, drum set (1-11), cajón (1-11)
    Ingrid Jensen, trumpet (1, 3-6, 8, 9, 11), flugelhorn (1, 3-6, 8, 9, 11)
    Brandon Lee, trumpet (2, 7, 10), flugelhorn (2, 7, 10)
    Sara Caswell, violin (10), hardanger d’amore (10)
    Cécile McLorin Salvant, vocals (11)

    PRODUCTION CREDITS
    Produced by Alan Ferber, Brian Montgomery, and Darcy James Argue
    Session Producer: Alan Ferber
    Production Assistants: Eliana Fishbeyn and Martina Liviero
    Recorded and Mixed by Brian Montgomery
    Assistant Engineers: Ben Miller and Michael Hickey
    Recorded at Power Station at BerkleeNYC Studio C, New York, NY, from August 29–September 2, 2022.
    Mixed at Soundview Studio, White Plains, NY.
    Mastered by Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound, Edgewater, NJ, from May 30–31, 2023.

    Design and Illustration by Lawrence Azerrad