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Chris Conway - Contact Light
Chris Conway Contact Light

Solar Flare
Contact Light
Fly By
Celestial Beings
Are They Gods?
Fly Bye
Slow Curve Home

Chris Conway -
live theremin, synthesizers, & electronics

Chris Conway


Chris Conway theremin
Theremin Worlds.
Huge cosmic soundscapes featuring, and as a backdrop to, the theremin.

CC's previous electronic album Scanning Planet 3 was 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.

Vidna Obmana, Eduard Artemiev, Robert Rich, Lydia Kavina, Terje Rypdal, Simon Stockhausen, Bernard Xolotl, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Wendy Carlos

The 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 reverb.

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 music album.

CC's fave track - Emergence

Spellbound Radio
"Contact Light is a wonderful ambient theremin album"

  Audion Magazine

" 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 strange
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.

  Wind and Wire - Dec '04 - - Dene Bebbington

Chris 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.

Often 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.

The 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.

Only 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.

Electronic 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.

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..... Chris Conway CD Contact Light