Publicity photo via Bandcamp

Light Conductor Traverse Into the Realm of Minimalism with ‘Sequence One’

Light Conductor produce an immersive journey through drone, kosmische musik, and psychedelia with Sequence One.

Sequence One
Light Conductor
8 March 2019

Light Conductor is the brainchild of Stephen Ramsay of Young Galaxy and Jace Lasek of the Besnard Lakes. Both musicians have explored different territories of indie music, with Ramsay leaning towards an off-kilter dream pop sound and Lasek on a heavier, psychedelic paradigm. However, when the two come together, the result moves away from the indie realm and into an experimental drone space, traversed by means of modular synthesis. And so it appears that the main goal of the duo’s debut record Sequence One is stripping down their musical identity to its bare bones to produce a mesmerizing trip.

Even though the album is structured on many of the attributes of drone music, it does not move into the darker and more obscure aspects of the genre. Light Conductor embraces the brighter (and thus the name), cosmic side of drone and that is something that is established from the very start of the record. The soothing and smooth qualities of the duo begin to unfold through a slow procedural journey, which is highlighted by its minimalism. When combined with the duo’s experimental touch the results are surreal, as is the case with “Far From the Warming Sun”. Guided by a monotonous burst of noise that acts as an anchor, Light Conductor dresses the scenery with smooth synths, slowly building up the track.

But, the minimal touch also combines with the more striking aspect of the album, which is none other than the melodic tendencies of Ramsay and Lasek. And it is within this slow tempo that the band takes its most striking form. The main theme of “A Bright Resemblance” is an example of this approach, cutting through the cosmic drone in a Tangerine Dream-like fashion and being repeated ad nauseam. Despite being constantly there and infecting the follow-up track “Chapel of the Snows”, it’s a theme that’s undergoing certain mutations. The duo switches the instrumentations, introduces additional processing and audio effects on top of the melody, altering the cosmic background presented in the opening track for the more ethereal tone in “Chapel of the Snows”.

Despite this leaning towards minimalism, the duo incorporate a number of different manifestations to this work. The record sees the drone beginnings being transformed to an old-school electronica tribute in “When the Robot Hits the Water”. Even though Light Conductor retain their minimalistic touch, this break from the immersive drone approach is quite interesting, and it also leads to the most surprising moment of the record in the closing track. Here, Light Conductor let aside depart from their ambient adventures, retracing their steps to find a powerful krautrock moment. The duo picks up the pace and destroys the drone soundscapes in favor of a full-blown psychedelic rock drive, rounding up the record in an impressive manner.

In the end Sequence One gains a lot from its progression and its continuity. Light Conductor might diverge from their main interests in the indie scene, but they still carry much of these qualities in Light Conductor. Through their minimalism, krautrock sense, psychedelia, and drone alchemical machinations they manage to produce a strong debut.