A sound novella recorded in 2012 in remote Eastern Quebec. Reidemeister Move is Christopher Williams, a composer and contrabass player who worked with Ben Patterson (amongst an army of other mentors), and Robin Hayward, a microtonal tubist and composer who has performed music written for him by Christian Wolff and Alvin Lucier. Arcanum 17, based on the André Breton novel of the same name, was co-written by Williams and Charlie Morrow (you may recall that Recital published Morrow’s fabulous Toot! Too LP last year.)
Charlie introduced me to Christopher Williams in late-2016 (introducing is one of Charlie’s specialities). Once I discovered Christopher’s association with Fluxus composers and Malcolm Goldstein, I figured our conversations would go late into the night. We did not talk, though. And our first meeting consisted of Christopher sitting me down to play a piece of his music. I was initially turned off by the situation… such a bold gesture from a relative stranger (a bottle of wine and banter would normally be on the menu for such an occasion). We turned the lights to a dim glow in my living room and played the CD for me all the way through: 45 minutes of hyper-silent listening. I sank into the experience with comfort and ease with the first wash of water from the speakers.
Arcanum 17 is paced perfectly: field recordings, whispered narration, and cloudy bass and tuba streams fall in and out of frame with cinematic grace. A transportive phenomenon of an album, sonically echoes Williams’ description of the Breton novel: “A thick, existential little book, a reckoning of and with everything that brings him here: Canadian wildlife, the morning star, the myth of Melusina, feminism, the French education system, the ecstasy of newfound love. His alchemical blurring of prose and poetry, dream and waking states, natural and psychological landscapes, and past, present and future, brings these topics inimitably together. Always on the cusp of development but never quite.”
I now am grateful for the serious listening lesson that Christopher sat me down for: both because the sound piece was beautiful, and as a reminder to treat your art with respect and to not slight the weight of your passions. – Sean McCann, October 2018