And they were three...
When Serge and Christian met Christoph Harbonnier in 1985, they found the
ideal third member. A gifted visual designer, and a practical man, with a
strong technical ability, Christoph brought and today continues bringing
to the band his various skills. He's the guy who always finds the right
electrical plug, the right Audio or Midi cable, or pushes the power button
when Christian is trying without success to get a sound from his keyboard!
He is also in charge with most of the sound engineering, the visual design
and identity of Lightwave and a large part of the logistic side. Christoph
was responsible for all the technological development of Lightwave, from
the modular analog technologies of the mid-eighties to the digital and
computerized set up of today. (All the older synthesizers, however, are
still used and present in the studio.) On a musical level, Christoph was
trying to bring some order and coherence into the destructured music of
early Lightwave: chords, rythmical patterns, minimal harmonic rules. But he
was also at the origin of some extreme aspects of the Lightwave sound, such
as weird concrete sounds, bass drones, and dynamic outbursts ("Sorry guys,
this sound went out of control!...").
Serge was a gifted musician, with an in-depth knowledge of analog
synthesizers. He excelled in creating complex sequences using only analog
sequencers linked together. He had an expert knowledge of all the field of
electronic and new music, and greatly contributed to Lightwave's musical
identity during the early years, opening new directions of experimentation.
He created a specific musical color for the band, sometimes close to
neo-classical music, and he developed great melodic and ever-changing
sequence lines. He was a great artist, without any compromise, and after
leaving Lightwave in 1988 he devoted himself to two record companies,
Badlands and Art Gallery.
Christian is the intellectual guy. Which isn't to say that Christoph is
not. But really, Christian was and still is totally unable to do anything
practical with his hands except bringing heavy flightcases during the tours
and sometimes playing keyboards. However, he is often at the source of
crazy ideas and concepts, such as the "Mundus Subterraneus" and
"Cantus Umbrarum" projects. He is in charge of most of the management
and international communication for Lightwave, and was responsible for
the logistic management of the major live performances and sound installations
during the group's most recent years. On a musical level, Christian did not have
any musical training before becoming involved with Lightwave. However, he
defines himself more as a sound designer and an intuitive keyboard player than
as an academic musician. He has a great inclination toward spatial sound effects
with a lot of reverb and echoes: seagull songs, various waterfalls, alien
In the mid-eighties, he had three ARP 2600s, a multi-pannel Roland System 100
modular system and an impressive Modular RSF System, bought from the French
composer Saint-Preux. When Lightwave first found this system, it was in
Saint-Preux' basement, covered with dust. Saint-Preux just plugged the
electric wire (Christoph probably found the power outlet...), and the red
diodes of the modules started flashing. Saint Preux said, "Oh my, it still
works!" and Christian said, "Great, I'lI buy it."