After hearing Arcane Insignia, and especially after watching videos of their performances, I decided I had to experience a live performance of their sweepingly surreal music. With a couple friends I ventured into the Village and we made our way into the Lit Lounge on a Wednesday night. The place was alive with an energy that you can only find in New York City. People were at the bar, lost in the music as well as their own conversations and surprisingly an art exhibit bounced with activity at the back of the place. We made our way down some old stone steps as if gaining admittance to some old speakeasy and found ourselves in a dimly lit, long room with huge speakers and microphones at one end and bench seats built into the walls. Before a single note was played I knew I had walked into something exciting.
James Alexander and Antoinette Ady are two remarkable musicians. The coupling of guitar and violin completely engaged me from the start. Their sound grabs you and doesn’t let you go, as if moving you around the room and transporting you to magical places. The songs were passionate, emotionally charged stories that James Alexander’s vocals do an excellent job of communicating. He sucks you into his intimate world and then carries you up and down like a wild rollercoaster. Antoinette Ady’s music shines through with her strength and commanding power of her violin strings. Her playing is comparable to romantic and epic tales of centuries past yet somehow carry with them the flavor of modern genres.
Strings are the weapons of choice for this powerful duo and their harmony together is what is liberatingly fresh and brand new. James Alexander strums his guitar with a powerful, aggressive force that turns his instrument at times into almost a sort of drum or bass and his voice carries over his hard hitting playing so one is left with the feeling of being in his grip. While, at the same time Antoinette Ady’s strings weave in and out, creating layers of insightful, soothing and beautiful echoes that put one at ease. It is interesting and surprising to discover that the music overall captures the very essence of communication between man and woman. Alexander with his power and force delivers a very male perspective to the sound, while Ady with her smooth, beautiful tapestry of playing gives us the female counterpart to their musical conversation. This is not to suggest there is romantic love in these songs, instead they rise above that to reach a more basic level of communication. In doing that the music becomes romantic but also becomes anything you want it to be because the two styles are there for you to grab hold of and play in.
It is easy to get lost in this music because Arcane Insignia does an amazing job creating and shaping a musical landscape that is rich, alluring and makes you want to explore. If you’ve ever wanted to have songs really move you so you felt it in your chest and wanted to experience something musically unforgettable, then you have found your magic carpet to ride. Don’t be afraid of heights, Arcane Insignia won’t let you down.
I'm David Carus. From overcoming one of the most dangerous cities in the country and graduating from one of the most prestigious colleges in America to leading an educational movement as a teacher and running for Congress at the age of 25, I decided the best hope our world has is through art.