Light Conductor – Sequence Two

Light Conductor returns with Sequence Two, the second album of prismatic slow-burn analog synth instrumentals by the duo of Jace Lasek from The Besnard Lakes and Stephen Ramsay from Young Galaxy.

Expanding on the hypnaogogic ambience of their warm and uncluttered 2019 debut, Lasek and Ramsay add mostly subtle but scintillating new structure to the four longform tracks on Sequence Two. While these songs remain resolutely beatless (no drum patches or programming to be found here) they burble with more ornate and intentional pulses, arpeggiators and control voltages. Light Conductor’s analog palette of gently fuzzed-out chordal drone, mesmeric ostinato, sweeping filters and drifting levitational melody continues to colour the glowing atmosphere of this enveloping space/trance music, like sunrise on another planet—but with a profoundly satisfying dimension of heightened ceremony and design.

The progression is nothing more or less than one would want or expect. Light Conductor still fundamentally conveys an ineffable sense of meditative discovery, as if the music was being played for the first time: the genuine effect of these songs being culled from marathon overnight sessions of live playing, marked by immersive, durational telepathy and semi-improvisation. These psychogenic jams are then judiciously overlaid, usually with just one or two more elements, though for brief stretches becoming stacked and maximal—most notably towards the end of 14-minute album opener “Splitting Light” when an ever-refracted sequencer pattern inexorably develops into multi-layered intertwining melodies, culminating in a final burst of guitar- and vocal-driven operatic space-rock chug that invokes Yes, Spiritualized, and (choral) Bon Iver in equal measure. (The only appearance of vocals on an otherwise purely instrumental album.)

Sequence Two indeed carries forth the prevailing energy of the duo’s first album: “If the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey overshot the great apes and instead appeared before a mid-00s rock band” is not a bad way to put it (as Paul Blinov did in his Exclaim! review). The particular combination of restraint, luxuriation and repose that Light Conductor achieves is easier heard and absorbed than described—but it makes sense that this music is the dreamlike opalescent nebula of a duo whose respective psych/pop/electro/rock bands are known for stridently declarative, chiselled, heavy sonic statements. The through line is an emotive devotional sensibility, seasoned by a naturalistic studio mastery, and love for the analog that enmeshes the electronic.

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