Im Argen is a nighttime album; it just doesn’t fit during the day. Slow, smoky, introspective and lean, this is the sound of dark jazz clubs, stolen glances and dropped cigarettes, burning themselves out in the shadowed streets. And yet, look at that cover ~ just look at it. Danger’s a-brewing. If you’re not careful, that stolen glance might lead to a car chase, a blown tire, murder.
Some people should not be flirted with. Some scars should not be mentioned. Certain slights should be overlooked. One wrong move and the stiletto is lifted from the stocking, the pug-nosed man rises to his feet, the bartender turns away. You’re on your own now. The trumpeter plays a sad lament, a little bit crooked. Have you noticed the missing finger?
The press release mentions Bohren and Badalamenti. Fair enough; both comparisons are apt. But each is also reductive, as Im Argen (German for in a sorry state) is its own doomed creature, sitting at the bar, pondering the meaning of the look given by the voluptuous creature who cannot be, and yet is, sitting alone. At this point, is there any free will, or only tragic inevitability?
Or perhaps this is his lucky night. The slow, mournful music edges him on. The tender Rhodes, the brushed drums, the singer who doesn’t sing, only stares. This could be the night when nothing bad happens. The boyfriend might be gone. The woman might be sincere. They might be kindred spirits. Yes, says the dark guitar. Yes. Even the piano player seems in tune with the night, the magical night, the night of danger and drink and death. And the man rises from his stool.
Radare‘s music calls no attention to itself, but shines the spotlight on unwritten stories. As such, it is both fully present and fully absent, a Schrödinger’s set of songs. As the last patron leaves, the janitor sweeps up coins and teeth, pocketing everything metal, a tip for his silence. From the corner of the stage, the sound of a cymbal being tapped. He is not alone.
The broom falls. The band’s closing crescendo echoes in his head: thick guitars approaching like horses in molasses, patiently closing the gap. He wonders now: who will clean up this final mess? (Richard Allen)