Arcanum 17 is a 42-minute multimedia composition for contrabass and tuba, text, and field recordings and MorrowSound True 3D sound installation. Based on surrealist André Breton’s 1944 book of the same name, this adaptation reflects the author’s visions of “love and loss, aggression and war, pacifism, feminism and the occult” through the prism of Rocher Percé, a massive natural arc on the east coast of Quebec. Through his unique blurring of prose and poetry, dream-and waking states, natural and psychological landscapes, and past, present and future, Breton links themes as diverse as Canadian wildlife, the myth of Melusina, fascism, and the ecstasy of newfound love.
Christopher Williams‘ collaboration with Robin Hayward and Charlie Morrow amplifies and transforms Breton’s imagery, bringing it alive in an immersive musical environment. Around the metaphor of the crumbling Rocher Percé, sustained-tone music in just intonation and delicate noise drifts in and out of recorded wildlife, seascapes, and tourism from the Gaspé Peninsula.
Arcanum 17 is created expressly for MorrowSound True 3D, a state-of-the-art modular sound spatialization system which projects sound from above and below the listener. True 3D creates the illusion of an expanded space where sound moves up and down, as well as around, allowing for magical and paradoxical connections to emerge between concrete geographies, abstract sonorities, and visionary concepts.
Arcanum 17 – TRAILER:
A multimedia composition by Christopher Williams and Charlie Morrow
After texts by André Breton
Performed by Reidemeister Move
Christopher Williams (contrabass) and
Robin Hayward (microtonal tuba) with
Charlie Morrow (recorded voice and conch shells)
and Maija-Leena Remes (recorded voice)
Mike Harrison – Videographer, Field Recorder, Max/MSP Programer, Assistant Sound Engineer
The Arcanum 17 Photo Gallery: