Brooklyn Babylon


Sept. 4, 2015
Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia

  Nov. 13, 2015
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
Urbana, Illinois

PAST DATES: June 24, 2013
Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ
Holland Festival

9-12 November 2011
BAM Harvey Theater
Brooklyn, NY

22 October 2011
The Performing Arts Center
Purchase College, NY

Studio 360: A New Multimedia Masterpiece: Brooklyn Babylon
"This weekend, the Brooklyn Academy of Music presented a new work of originality, power, and beauty that left an audience slack-jawed. Brooklyn Babylon is a collaboration between the graphic novelist Danijel Zezelj and composer Darcy James Argue, and it is destined to be considered a classic of the evolving genre of multimedia performance.
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The New York Times: Animation Joins Jazz At the Next Wave Festival
"The piece, commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy, has characters and a narrative and recurring melodic themes and changes musical languages according to setting and mood: swing, dance-punk, Eastern European music. […] It is heavily planned, built of thick shadows and big-band polyphony, and it took both composer and artist most of a year to create." 
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The Wall Street Journal: Razing a New Tower of Babel
"A ground-breaking new multimedia work […] Expanding his sonic palette as never before, Mr. Argue consciously integrated music from different cultures of Brooklyn for the multimedia piece by adding elements of Balkan brass, French café music and even marching-band music. Because there is no libretto, the entire narrative is told through the music and Mr. Zezelj's powerful and chilling illustrations. The shifting images act as a sort of time machine, forward-moving and seemingly implacable."
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The New York City Jazz Record
"Danijel Zezelj, standing on a catwalk, painted haunting images in black and red, using a small roller on a wide and narrow canvas as Argue’s music roared. Passages of great delicacy — piano-clarinet duets, flute chorales, unaccompanied nylon-string guitar — alternated with moments of slashing fury and awesome full-ensemble precision."
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Salon: Could Jazz Supply the Occupy Wall Street Soundtrack?
"Brooklyn Babylon’s themes range from the gentrification of Brooklyn to the story of an artist who gets so lost in his work that he loses touch with what’s happening in his community."
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Time Out New York
"A massive, brass-heavy, sax-buoyant sound moves out of the group like a living wall, interfering with our cardial tissues as it rages over us."
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"All through the piece, the visuals are projected on a wide movie screen, while Zezelj himself is up on the stage, periodically drawing a beautiful landscape that takes in the whole tableaux of the story. […] Meanwhile, Argue's music exudes that fusion of propulsive rhythm, indigo dissonance, melancholic minor intervals, and boisterous march beat—sometimes alternately, sometimes buckling up against each other—that we've heard in his earlier work. But here he shows a flair for theatricality, a promise of near-symphonic stretching."
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"Brooklyn Babylon is a true achievement for both Argue and Zezelj. It’s a total fusion of two completely separate media, combining modern technology, theatricality, sound, and imagery to create a truly unique and original work."
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"Highly compelling and socially relevant."
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"The presentation is so well integrated that, at times, it’s easy to forget you’re sitting before a live band. […] Brooklyn Babylon is a true audio-visual treat."
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