Seven Samurai

SXSW Picks 2 Click: Austin acts cutting through the din

Seven Samurai
Photo by Shelley Hiam


Wed., March 18, 405 Club, 1am

Morgan Sorne operates on grand scales, ambitions of epic, archetypal proportions.

Since moving to Austin from Florida in 2007, the 31-year-old has had his artwork featured in the Texas Biennial, released three albums in his House of Stone saga, created short film "Children of the Black Mountain," and garnered acclaim for his experiential live performances that unfold in hypnotic, shamanistic trances behind his four-octave range and pulsing tribal rhythms. Each project expresses part of an overall mythos, a detailed and evolving narrative that Sorne weaves throughout his artwork.

"To compartmentalize is really difficult for me as a person," admits Sorne at his North Austin house, his studio a cataclysm of artwork and instruments. "My mind just kind of runs like a river, and all of the stuff just chaotically collides in on itself.

"What truly excited me was the idea that instead of just doing an album, what if it was an album that told a story. Where you could dig deeper and there might be other pieces of discovery that might be art or performance. The challenge was to find a way to authentically and successfully fuse that stuff together to create something that isn't just a passive listen, or a passive experience. And if you dig deeper, it's like excavating a Mayan city you're uncovering.

"To me, that element of discovery is really exciting."

Conceived when he was 18, Sorne's saga weaves a myth of the children of the House of Stone, who murder their father the king and rule the kingdom. Over the past five years, Sorne has drawn fans into this world through multimedia, and aims to release the final three albums and complete the narrative over the next year.

"I'm interested in connecting with as many people as possible, authentically and consciously," he says. "My whole mission as a creative is to create an experience that goes deeper than just going to a show. I want to have that be there, but also offer things like workshops or elements in the experience that allow for the fan to feel like they have ownership in the piece.

"What's happened with House of Stone over the years, as I've talked with fans and people, things have mutated and changed, and I think that kind of kinetic energy is really important for storytelling.

"The whole thing has been an experiment, and I feel like that's been the most enjoyable part of the experience."

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