Huge cosmic soundscapes featuring, and as a backdrop to,
previous electronic album Scanning
Planet 3was layered multitracked and included
acoustic instruments. This time he wanted to make a purely
electronic album - recorded as live, and strongly featuring
the theremin - theremin is played on every track and is
solo with effects on 4 tracks. He also wanted to find,
with effects, different ways to use the theremin and create
suitable backdrops for it.
Obmana, Eduard Artemiev, Robert Rich, Lydia Kavina, Terje
Rypdal, Simon Stockhausen, Bernard Xolotl, Karlheinz Stockhausen,
title "Contact Light" comes from the first thing
said by a human (Buzz Aldrin) on landing on the moon - the
light indicating contact with the surface had come on.
The only effects used on the theremin was a long delay and
No presequencing of synthesizers was used on the album -
synths were played live using live arpegiators.
Contact Light is Chris Conway's best selling electronic
fave track - Emergence
Light is a wonderful ambient theremin album"
" The idea behind this disc was to further explore the use
of the Theremin, and develop a new palette for it. Also
featuring his trusty Korg Triton and the new Roland SH32,
the sound is very much now, but with a footing in the
sci-fi sounds of the 1950's.
At its deepest I'm more often reminded of the spacier
Michael Stearns or Steve Roach, although the melodic context
and sounds are generally quite different. Overall,
it's in a world of its own, and full of surprising touches."
has dabbled with some electronic music on his Ayurveda and
Scanning Planet 3 albums, now he's gone the whole hog and
created a completely electronic album with Contact Light
which features extensive sounds of a theremin and was recorded
live without multi-tracking. An interesting piece of trivia
is that the title refers to the first words a human said
on the moon when the light came on indicating something
under the Eagle's feet.
Contact Light verges on the experimental as one wonders
if Chris is merely playing around with different effects
rather than trying to create some kind of cohesive album.
I think it does succeed in being the latter, with patience
it is revealed to be an unusual trip out into the solar
system and beyond.
atmosphere created by this album is definitely rooted
in the heavens, yet it isn't typical spacemusic - if there
is such a thing. A live approach to the recording has
given the sound a freshness and immediacy due to it not
having many textures, also the theremin creates a uniquely
alien aura. Indeed, the second track "Emergence"
with its watery background got me imagining being on the
shore of another planet as the ghostly wails of the theremin
hint at unusual lifeforms hidden somewhere in the distance.
in the last track "Slow curve home" do we start
to hear anything resembling a rhythm or melody, most of
the album is a kind of atmospheric collage formed by samples,
drones, washes, and haunting wails. On this final track
a muffled sequence forms a nice resonant structure over
which a short string of notes is repeated and washes of
spacey sounds do brief dances before being replaced by
something slightly different.
music's greatest strength, in my opinion, is its ability
to transport the listener to different realms -- and not
always those intended by the musician -- because of the
spectacular range of possible and otherworldly sounds
that can be created. Contact Light is a good example
of music in this vein, though it may take several
listens to really appreciate.