The name of LIGHTWAVE conjures up images familiar to fans of new technologies in music and elsewhere. France has a great tradition of experimentation with modern musical technology — everything from the catchy, contemporary electronics of Jean-Michel Jarre to the experiments of avant-garde composers working at the world-renowned IRCAM Research Center in Paris.

Lightwave uses these innovative techniques to go beyond the purely experimental, to create and communicate sound experiences for adventurous listeners.

In 1984, Serge Leroy and Christian Wittman met for the first time at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, thanks to common friends, and decided to work together for founding Crystal Lake, a French independent and
non-profit organization devoted to the promotion of new and electronic musics. Heavily involved in the discovery of new artists and musical trends, they edited a magazine and started a mail-order service in order to
import tapes and records of electronic music from all around the world into France.

Serge joined together theory and practice, and was already experimenting sound and music with an impressive Roland Modular System 700 synthesizer. Despite his interest in electronic music, Christian never played
synthesizers until then. He had the opportunity to buy a second-hand ARP 2600 synthesizer at a rather cheap price, and this was the starting point of a long and on-going story.

For months, Serge and Christian experimented with their machines, exploring the infinite possibilities of analog modular synthesis. Some tapes were recorded on a TEAC Portastudio (4 tracks and more, with the
overdub options). Slowly the idea of playing together came to their mind. In 1985, Crystal Lake organized an electronic music festival near Paris, featuring several French musicians and bands. Serge and Christian decided to play a set in the Festival. The name "Lightwave" was bestowed during a dinner at a Chinese restaurant near Christian's place.

Laurent Bozec, a young guy who had a VCS 3 synthesizer, joined Lightwave for this first concert, at Châtenay Malabry. They had intensive rehearsals, and prepared a sophisticated backing tape with climates and
sequences that were impossible to play live. Lightwave was by then strongly influenced by German electronic music, and the audience was obviously looking for some similarities between the French trio and a mythical trio from Berlin.

Lightwave's music was very experimental, bizarre, beyond any categories, and the synthesizers were used in an extreme and free way. Much was left to chance and improvisation.

In 1985, Christoph Harbonnier joined Lightwave. He was already playing in an electronic duo, and his sound and music were already impressive. However, he was looking for more experimentation and risks. One could say
that he was not disappointed with Lightwave. At that time, Lightwave had a rather impressive set of analog synthesizers, ranging from the Korg PS 3300, the RSF Polykobol, Polymoog, ARP and Roland modular systems.
(LW synth museum gallery)

As a trio, the band gave several concerts, using the analog equipment on stage and programming most of the sequences live. The music combined German cosmic influences with a touch of French classical and avant-garde
tradition. The concerts were real technical and artistic challenges, since most of the time the musicians were dealing with unpredictable machines, unstable balances, and mere technical accidents that had to be turned in artistic events.

In 1987, the first produced Lightwave recording titled "Modular Experiment" was released, containing some live and studio pieces. Lightwave was used to playing live in studio sessions, with direct recording on a Revox tape machine. Hours and hours of recorded and still unreleased music are still on the shelves of the studio. 

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 twitterings, etc.

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'll buy it."

Interestingly enough, from 1985 to 1988, Lightwave was mainly involved in concert performances and live studio sessions — playing together, learning to build up a coherent electro-acoustic space into which each instrumentist would bring his own contribution, going deeper and deeper into the secrets of analog synthesis and defining rules and methods for improvising while
playing. Lightwave used the studio as a training tool for the stage, and playing in concert simply meant moving all the studio set up on stage in order to play in a familiar surrounding.

There was a permanent emulation between Christoph, Serge and Christian, and they tried to astonish themselves with new sounds, new effects, and unexpected developments during the live sessions. The music was so organic and cohesive that at times one of the musicians would ask: "This sound is really great, who is playing it?" And the two other guys answered: "It's you!" Serge usually created some guidelines with sequences. During live concerts, Lightwave developed a collaboration with the street-dance company Popdreams, who created a great technique of slow motion dance and mime. Lightwave also worked with special visual artists to create the right visual atmosphere of the concerts.

From the various materials recorded live or during studio sessions, Lightwave compiled several auto-produced cassettes that had a wide circulation in European underground networks. The first one, "Modular
Experiment" , was a sort of programmatic statement about the band's artistic choices, between structure and deconstruction.

In 1988, Serge left Lightwave, but remained good friends with Christian and Christoph. It was a difficult step for the band, and a time for questions, doubts and decisions. Despite his heavy involvement in
scientific research and academic life, Christian shared Christoph's will to give Lightwave a new chance, and a new orientation. Losing Serge's creative input meant redefining the band's aesthetics as well as its goals.

"Cités Analogues" reflects the work of Lightwave as a duo. It was a concept cassette-album, with a music written and composed and rehearsed for several weeks. All its parts were recorded live on a Revox tape machine. There exist several versions of the pieces, and Lightwave chose the best ones for the release. On a very sequenced track, however, Christian — who was playing a soloist line above Christoph's rythmics and polyphony — made a keyboard mistake. The RSF Modular solo line was great except for a few seconds. So during the final editing session, Lightwave decided to add the noise of a train crossing the stereo space. The train just masked the wrong notes! For the first time, Lightwave built up a whole conceptual project, and worked on the global artistic coherence of an album-length composition. The function and complementarity of the two musicians were firmly defined too, and "Cités Analogues" was a first step toward professional productions. Some more time was needed, however, before Lightwave got a first deal with a record company.

For a few months, a new musician named Bruno Heuzé joined Lightwave. We met him at the "Ici & Maintenant" radio, where we played very special live performances in 1986 and 1988. Bruno was — and is still — one of the French experts in the field of new musics. He knew everything from radical free jazz to New York avant-garde. For several months, Christian was a guest programmer in Bruno's radio show, and Californian electronic music (such as Steve Roach and Michael Stearns) or European electro-acoustic music got an extensive airplay in the Paris area. Bruno joined Lightwave at a crucial time. Technology was changing: MIDI,
sampling, FM synthesis opened new directions. Computers allowed new ways of composing music. Concerts and studio sessions during this period kept a record of various experimentations with sampling and computer sequencing. Lightwave was always between structure and chaos, between geometry and freedom. The old analog synthesizers, however, preserved the sonic identity of the band.

A trained musician, Bruno was more interested in written composition and in fusion music. And when he left Lightwave, he recorded a great solo record displaying all his skill. Meanwhile, Lightwave recorded
"Nachtmusik" really by mere chance and accident. Lightwave had been conducting weekly rehearsals at Christoph's place near Paris. And during a weekend in 1989, Bruno was unable to participate. What happened exactly, we don't know. We probably waited for Bruno for a while, and then we plugged in all the equipment and had a soundcheck. By the late evening nothing had really happened yet, so we took a break and had several drinks. During the night we entered the studio again, and pushed the "Record" button of the Revox tape machine. There was a blue light in the studio. Without a single word, we started playing. We had no plans. All the machines were plugged to the mixing desk and we were moving freely from one to another. We recorded "Nachmusik" live, without any break or overdub. It was a total improvisation, but at the same time a structured composition, with an opening movement, a central and a final part. We still played a good part of the night until we felt asleep.

We knew that this recording was something special. And we were aware that it had to be released as a CD-project because it was one of the best things we had ever recorded. The second track "Just Another Dream" was a "montage" from different studio sessions. Important parts of it were recorded during that magic night...

Signing with German record company Erdenklang for the release of "Nachtmusik" was a great opportunity. Erdenklang was then one of the leading European record companies in the field of electronic music, and we
were happy to join artists such as Hubert Bognermayr, Harald Zuschrader, Matthias Thurow and Johannes Schmoelling. Serge Leroy helped a lot, and we went together to Germany. We spent a few days in Berlin, meeting artists such as Manuel Göttsching, Alphaville, Chris Franke in his studio, Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Propeller Island and Conrad Schnizler. From Berlin, we went to Hamburg, to meet with Ulrich Rützel. We had a dinner together and, the day after, a long discussion. At the end of the morning, we got the deal.

Ulrich Rützel, Erdenklang's manager, gave Lightwave a chance, and we are still very grateful to him. "Nachtmusik" is still available and distributed on his catalogue, and sales never stopped.

The mixing and mastering sessions of the album were done in Paris. For the "Nachtmusik" piece, the only possible edits were treatments and equalization. A first version was done by french producer Jean-Michel
Reusser, with heavy use of electronic treatments and effects. The piece sounded as a total aquatic chill-out delirium. The final version, however, was achieved by Michel Geiss, a leading French sound-engineer and musician who was a long-time collaborator of Jean-Michel Jarre. We went to a professional studio in Paris, and the mixing and treatments were done through a SSL mixing desk. Michel enhanced the sound, corrected some
frequences, but did not change the mood and the spirit of our live studio performances as they were: the most important ingredient was the magic, and it had to be preserved. Michel's artistic and technical choice was the right one.

Hector Zazou is a well known character of the Paris scene. He is a bit Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, since in the early 90s he was a well known journalist, and, under the name of Zazou, a veteran of the new music scene, who had already recorded a very impressive discography. We met him thanks to Serge Leroy. Zazou enjoyed "Nachtmusik" and he even wrote a review in the French Keyboards magazine. His review started as "here is the first record of electronic music of the XXI century..." No need to say that we became great friends!

A few months after, he called and asked us to contribute to his new album: "Les Nouvelles Polyphonies Corses." An exciting project: Zazou worked in Corsica with native singers recorded a capella in churches, and then, in Paris, he created all the musical background. Major artists were involved, such as John Hassell, John Cale, Ryuichi Sakamoto. Lightwave was asked to bring analog synthesizers in the Studio Davout in Paris, and to create various soundscapes. Zazou recorded them on a multitrack digital machine and added the Lightwave touch to various parts of the album. The result was splendid, and as a matter of fact, the album won an Award at the "Victoires de la Musique," the French version of the Grammy Awards.

Working with Hector Zazou was very exciting, and we began a close collaboration. We rented together a large space in a factory, and we created a common studio called "Les Nouvelles Musiques Electroniques."
We regularly met Zazou's usual collaborators, sax and flute player Renaud Pion, trumpet player Christian Lechevretel, guitar player Kent Condon. All of them became friends and worked with Lightwave on specific projects or concerts.

Zazou helped us to change our focus and to create a new approach to music and production. He gave us a strong artistic input, and the concept as well as the artistic choices for albums such as "Tycho" and "Mundus" were discussed with him. He even played on "Tycho."

For Zazou's next project, "Sahara Blue" (1991), we were involved again as sound designers. Zazou invited us to build up our whole set up (all the modular synthesizers) in a studio in Paris. At the end of the day,
he told us: "Are you ready, guys? Ryuichi Sakamoto will be in the studio in five minutes, and you will play with him." We said, "Hey, good joke, Zazou, this is funny!" But it was not a joke, and five minutes later, Ryuichi came in the studio and sat at the grand piano. Zazou said: "OK, now, just improvise, the digital 48-track machine is recording". We started typical Lightwave atmospheres, with many spatial sounds, and Sakamoto started playing in a classical way and then, opened the piano, and played with the cords of the piano, hiting them, scratching them in order to produce concrete sounds, treated by echoes and reverbs. The music became totally atonal. It was rather unusual, strange, weird and experimental. The recording of this session was used as a soundscape for various parts of Zazou's album. We were credited for the music of a piece with David Sylvian. Unfortunately, David did not like the final mixing of his voice, and after a legal action, Zazou had to release a second version of his album, where David Sylvian's voice totally disappeared. He was replaced with Brendan Perry from Dead Can Dance, and Lightwave sounds remained on the new track. The first version, however, with the Zazou / Sylvian / Lightwave piece, is now a collector's item, and seems to be still used as a soundtrack by various TV and radios.

Following the "Sahara Blues" studio sessions, there was a 24-hour long concert in Paris, and we joined Zazou for one of the craziest live performances we've ever played.

In 1996, we contributed to the sound design of Zazou's "Songs from the Cold Seas", his third release for Columbia Sony (link). It was an extreme album and most of the pieces went through several different versions.
Lightwave sounds were used on several tracks, among Inuit songs and folk songs of the Northern countries, recorded by Zazou during an expedition around the Arctic circle.

Lightwave's sonic trademark got a wide international exposure thanks to these three albums. We learned a lot about production, mixing, composing, thinking about music.

In 1991, Zazou produced a special Lightwave album: "Dance with the Gurus." It was an ambient-dance oriented album influenced by KLF and The Orb. Psychedelic and atmospheric tracks were mixed with house music. Rhythms were programmed by Christian Lechevretel and Lightwave, and saxophones, trumpets and guitars were mixed with electronic instruments. There were some great pieces, such as "Todol Bardo," with nice sequences.
An American singer was even involved on two tracks (could you imagine Lightwave's music with rap songs? No? Try again...). The album was devoted to all the main spiritualities of the world, from Zen Buddhism to Islam. Samples, fields recordings, radio voices of evangelists and preachers created specific backgrounds for each piece. This album was never released, but we still have the tapes. Some pieces, however, sound old-fashioned today, and the whole project had a rather unusual color for a Lightwave album.

In 1986, Serge Leroy founded a concert production company, Crystal Lake Productions. His main project was organizing two Tangerine Dream concerts
in Paris, the first ones in Paris for several years. Christoph and Christian, although not directly involved in the organization, supported Serge and helped him during the preparation of the two Olympia concerts. Christoph even created the artwork for the posters, with a free adaptation of the Rubycon album's cover artwork.

The schedule, the many funny events during these two days (and nights) spent with Monique, Edgar and Jerome Froese, Chris Franke and Paul Haslinger, now belong to history. As well as the two great concerts they
played at the Olympia Theater in central Paris.

A few months later, Paul came back to Paris for a short break and holidays, and we met again for a dinner. We had a long talk and we played him some extracts of "Modular Experiment" (link). Paul gave us advice and
encouragement. It was the starting point of a strong friendship between us, but we were rather far away to imagine its developments. At the time, Tangerine Dream had a very busy schedule with international tours and many studio productions. We did not hear from Paul again until beginning of 1991. He gave a phone call to Christian with two major pieces of news: he was no longer involved in TD, and he was planning to spend some time in Paris.

We had several talks, and in a very natural way we met together in Lightwave's studio. The instruments were plugged in and we started live improvised sessions. Hours and hours of music were recorded during a full
week. Obviously, Christoph, Christian and Paul shared a certain concept of electronic sound and music, and they played together without any preconceived plans, just for fun. What was really funny was the empathic
connection between musicians who met for the first time in a studio, and the fact they were able to play together and to improvise without any preparation. Paul brought in several new ideas, about organization,
technical set up, use of computers, and thanks to him we got endorsements from various French and German companies. A lot of crazy concepts and ideas were developed, and most of them are still waiting to be realized... A few months later, Lightwave was the headline of an Electronic Festival new Music at the Telecom High School in Paris, and Paul came back to Paris to do rehearsals with us. All the studio sessions were recorded, and the concert was a popular success.

During the fall 1992, Paul joined us again in Paris for the rehearsals of the London concert (UK Electronica). Back to Paris after the show, we again built the whole set up in the studio, and before Paul's departure
for the US, we decided to have a last studio session and to record the basic tracks of a few pieces for our "Tycho Brahé" project.

We decided on some minimalist principles, limiting ourselves to a few notes and a few sounds. This session was recorded late in the night, as usual with Lightwave. Several basic tracks of "Tycho" were recorded during this session, among them "Mapping the Sky," where Paul played a very minimalist piano part which created the mood for the whole piece. Later, Christoph and Christian developed a sophisticated electronic background for the piece, with many layers of sounds.

Christoph and Christian worked for several months on the "Tycho Brahe" album. Serge Leroy joined them for the mixing sessions and as an artistic producer. Serge also introduced Jacques Derégnaucourt (link), one of the French artists he produced. Jacques, a classically trained violin player, was also a very creative electro-acoustic composer. He became a unique collaborator with Lightwave, as well as Renaud Pion (link) (flute,
clarinet, saxophones...), on stage and in studio. The two are very important components of the Lightwave sound and have been deeply involved in many projects since the mid-nineties.

Since the 1992 concerts and the "Tycho Brahe" founding studio sessions, Paul Haslinger has been a member of the Lightwave family. He also followed his own path and developed his own solo projects as well as other
collaborations. But there remains a strong connection between us. In 1994, Christoph, Christian and Jacques got deeply involved in the "Mundus Subterraneus" project. Most of the tracks of the album started as live multitrack digital recordings. In this way, the band kept the spontaneity of live interaction and improvisation, and saved the possibility of future editing and mixing steps.

During the fall 1994, Christian was granted a nine-month scholarship at the Getty Center for the History of Arts and the Humanities in Los Angeles. He brought with him the digital tapes of the Paris sessions. Paul Haslinger proposed to produce and to mix the album in his Blue Room Studio in West Hollywood. Paul played many additional parts and added a new dimension to the work. Most of his contributions were recorded in a typical Lightwave manner. The track was played once for review. Paul then selected specific sounds, synchronized the tape with his computer programs, and pushed the record button. He then played his keyboard parts, adding sound effects, rythmical punctuations, melodic lines. Most of the time, the first spontaneous idea was the right one. The mixing, editing and treatments on the whole album, however, were to last several weeks.

During the first days of January 1995, Christian was back in Paris for a short period. By that time, a new project was launched: "Malibu". Paul was at the origin of this minimalistic project, where Lightwave would use a single and strange harmonic scale on the whole album, and where each player would use, for each track, only one keyboard with a single sound. Christoph and Christian recorded in one day all the basic tracks of this project. The music — soft, strange, surreal and deep — has the purety of a drawing sketch. The "Malibu" project remained in stand-by until 1997. New studio sessions in Paris enriched the atmosphere and the concept: Jacques Derégnaucourt composed a piece for a string quartet and another one for a hornpipe player. The pieces were recorded with classical musicians in a professional studio in Paris. Renaud Pion recorded several tracks for various wind instruments. Hopefully, "Malibu" will be released in the near future.

"Tycho Brahé" was first released by Crystal Lake, a French organization devoted to the promotion of electronic and new musics. A new team was in charge of this organization that Serge Leroy and Christian Wittman had founded in the early eighties.

This limited edition release was sold out in a few weeks, and got a very positive critical reaction.

Thanks to Paul Haslinger, the master tapes were proposed to Leyla and Stephen Hill (Hearts of Space), who were currently creating a new section of their record company called Fathom, devoted to "serious electronic
music," with composers such as Robert Rich, Michael Stearns and Steve Roach. Unexpectedly, "Tycho" was released by Fathom, and thanks to an important promotion campaign in the US, we had our first wide international exposure.

"Tycho Brahe" and "Mundus Subterraneus" were the logical follow-up of "Nachtmusik", but at the same time they were radical departures. They developed ideas and components already present in "Nachtmusik": a balance between harmony and abstraction, minimalism and symphony, abstraction and concreteness. But at the same time, these ideas became more focused and effective, the tracks were shorter and more diversified. The freedom of improvisation was organized by concept, and the creative intuition was enhanced by a complex production and postproduction process, using all the possibilities of multitrack digital recording and electronic

The main achievement of these two albums was to put in practice the concept of a chamber electronic music ensemble, either a trio or a quartet, with the same sonic sophistication and the same live interaction as a real string quartet. Between classical and concrete music, between experimentation and melody, between harmony and subtle dissonance, Lightwave music was a challenge for any musical classification.

Interestingly enough, "Mundus Subterraneus" disorientated a part of the American new age audience, while it seduced radio DJs and more adventurous listeners interested in the ambient and techno trends. "Mundus" is now a cult "dark ambient" album. Hearts of Space / Fathom, failing to reach this new audience, put an end to their license and distribution of Lightwave's albums at the end of 1996. "Tycho" and "Mundus" are unavailable since then, but a new release is planned.

Concerts were always an important part of Lightwave's activity. Playing live on stage was a constant training, and a challenge for creativity. Along the years, however, we felt some frustrations with the specific constraints of playing electronic music in conventional theaters. Playing keyboards, plugging and unplugging patches of the modular synthesizers, controlling computers, loading sound libraries in the MIDI synthetizers at various stages of the concert, taking care of the mixing and eventually of the recording of the concert itself do not allow for attractive and scenic
attitudes on stage. During most of Lightwave early concerts, there was a dark stage, with blue and green lights, and three guys totally surrounded by huge modular systems and keyboards, deeply focused on the music. Light projections, dance on stage, and sometimes laser shows created some stage animation.

We were looking for other concepts of live performances, open to a wider audience than the hard-core electronic fans we met in various French and English festivals. Our concert at the Astronomical Observatory in Nice in November 1993 was a first step into this direction. The Manca New Music Festival had (and still has) the reputation of bringing electronic and new musics in unusual places, such as swimming pools, beaches, gardens, museums etc. A new audience was reached, that would never enter an Academic Concert hall for listening at contemporary music. For our two concerts in Nice, the old Astronomical Observatory of Garnier and Gustave Eiffel was open to the audience. Moreover, beach mattresses were arranged on the ground and the listeners just laid down, looking from the ground at the wonderful coupole and at the huge telescope. The music started gently in the dark, and a sophisticated light show enluminated the coupole during the entire performance.

The Oberhausen Gasometer installation fully developed this concept of performances in unusual places (gallery). Christian met French artists Anne and Patrick Poirier in Los Angeles at the Getty Center and they
became great friends. They had previously been commissioned for a special installation in the Oberhausen Gasometer, near Dusseldorf in Germany. At the time, Christian was involved in the production of "Mundus Subterraneus" with Paul Haslinger. The concept of "Mundus" had a strong appeal for Anne and Patrick, and they proposed us to join them in order to create a concrete, physical "Mundus Subterraneus" on the ground level of the Gasometer. This installation was sponsored by German industrial companies, and the project was crazy (but we are French, right?).

An artificial pool was created within the gasometer, and the river near by was used to fill in the pool through a pump system. An archipelago of dark islands was created at the center of the artificial lake (diameter: 30 meters). And on the islands, hundred of small buildings, human figures, miniature cars, tiny planes, spaceship models, and even a small electric train were disposed. The entire scene was very dark, covered with coal dust, half-burned and half destroyed, as a real land after a bombing or some major industrial disaster. Artifical smoke was floating around the islands. All around the pool, small telescopes, fixed on supports, were oriented toward the islands, at the center of the pool. And through the telescopes, the small figures, buildings, cars, and so on, were seen as if they were full scale.

The telescopes, when moved by the viewers, triggered a track of music. Some were only a few seconds or a minute long. Each of the 24 telescopes was linked to a special multitrack sound system, with twelve different
CD-Rs, each of them containing 80 different tracks of music. As a result, the sound environment of the installation evolved and changed during sixth months, according to the way people moved the telescopes. All the tracks of music had been conceived to be mixed together and create interesting events, whatever the combination may be.

This spectacular sound installation was visited by nearly 100,000 people. Lightwave music would have never reached such a wide audience in a conventional concert setting. The CD "In der Unterwelt "offers a
suggestive sample of what happened within the Oberhausen Gasometer for six months.

The Choranche caves installation adapted the same technical and artistic concept to a huge subterranean site. This time there were no telescopes, but a sound system was employed along two long galleries, and
within two scenic subterranean spaces, with lake, waterfalls and rivers. Over the course of a week, every two hours a group of 100 or more people was guided by professional speleologists through the whole subterranean site. When they entered the cave, everything was in the dark. All the visitors wore protection helmets, with headlights. As they moved their heads back and forth from one side to the other, they created a fantastic lightshow on the huge roof and thousands of stalactites in the cave.

The audience was then divided into two groups, each of them exploring a gallery to its end, then coming back, meeting the other group, and starting the exploration of the other gallery. Their walk was illuminated by blue and green lights hidden behind the rocks. The music followed each group during its walk in each gallery, and then they met on the shore of the lake, the music from the two galleries was reuniting and creating a wide quadriphonic soundscape.

The music of "Cantus Umbrarum" was conceived as a musical composition, moving automatically and slowly along the galleries, from one loudspeaker to the other, at the rhythm of the walk of the visitors. Special
sound effects sometimes started at the very end of a gallery, and moved down very quickly through all the loudspeakers to its other end, such as rolling rocks or flood noises. Voices were heard at various points in the galleries. Loudpeakers were hidden behind rocks and created a mysterious acoustic space... The music was mixed with the cave's natural noises in a perfect manner.

"Cantus Umbrarum" was enjoyed by thousand of visitors who discovered electronic music for the first time. We played short live concerts at the end of the visits. School classes went with their teachers, and after the walk in the cave, we met them and answered all their questions about electronic instruments and music. "Cantus" is the most difficult project we've ever achieved, on a technical level. Mixing the multichannel sound recordings into a stereo tape was a difficult challenge too. This stereo version is released by Horizon Music.

The Choranche caves project, in November 1996, was a kind of achievement and a climax. It was difficult to imagine playing conventional concerts after this extreme experience, in the very heart of the "Mundus Subterraneus".

Christoph and Christian needed a break, in order to define new directions for the band. They still played together in studio sessions. Christoph was deeply involved in the post-production and mixing of the "Cantus" project. While Christian was very busy with scholarly projects, Christoph started a collaboration with French guitarist Pierre Chaze, a collaborator of Hector Zazou. Christoph also devoted a lot of time in experimenting new musical technologies, such as hard-drive recording and editing.

The two of them agreed on new objectives. Creative freedom, new partnerships, experimentation and fun should be the key-words of Lightwave's next step. Instead of artistic compromises in order to meet the commercial requirements of the recording industry, Lightwave chose to save its identity and to explore ways to reach and to enlarge its audience through new channels, such as the Internet. Mixing together visual creation, concepts and music, Lightwave started new artistic projects.

In 1999, a new partnership was started with the Horizon Music Network. Independence, flexibility, imagination, dynamism, mutual trust are the key-words of this partnership. The "Cantus Umbrarum" release is the
first step in an on-going collaboration.

Oh yes, and in September 1999 Christoph and Christian met Paul Haslinger in Paris and talked about new projects. So, stay tuned !

The Lightwave tribe: Ethnography

Laurent Bozec
Kent Condon
Jacques Derégnaucourt
Petra Gehrmann
Michel Geiss
Paul Haslinger
Bruno Heuzé
Christian Lechevretel
Serge Leroy
Renaud Pion
Anne et Patrick Poirier
Jean-Michel Reusser
Hector Zazou
Mark Ashby