L CON reflects on the spatial influence behind her latest release, Moon Milk.
L CON is one of several creative outlets for musician, composer and contemporary sound artist Lisa Conway, whose body of work includes music for film, dance, theatre and art installations. Whether she’s performing with the collaborative ensemble Del Bel, her Twin Peaks inspired project Chrome and the Ice Queen or as L CON, space often plays a defining role in her process. Her latest album, Moon Milk, inspired by a collection of science fiction stories by Italian writer Italo Calvino, is a great example of how space can influence and inspire in both practice and theory.
“Space is a big part of my artistic practice in many different ways,” said Conway. “When making this record, we (Andrew Collins and I) thought a lot about room tones, and the spaces in which we were recording things. Some decisions were obviously made due to practicalities, but many were made due to the sonic qualities of the spaces themselves. For example, The Distance of the Moon was mostly recorded in a church in Toronto – a big room with a lot of natural reverb – and you can actually hear the streetcar on my vocal track in the second verse, an unplanned happy accident.”
Conway’s writing embraces minimalist qualities, at times pairing her voice with a single instrument. At other times, her compositions appear to stop mid-phrase, leaving things feeling unresolved, before revisiting a familiar chorus or chord progressions. There is nothing predictable about the tracks on Moon Milk, and that’s part of what makes it such an enjoyable listen. Conway’s appreciation of space in her writing provides her sounds and words the most comfortable delivery.
“In both songwriting and arranging, I find that I am constantly trying to boil things down to their essence, and remove unnecessary elements, which is probably why I end up making fairly sparse music,” she said. “I think I’m attracted and fascinated by negative space because it contains tension – it’s a really powerful tool that grabs the ear. It’s pretty interesting to play sparse material live, as it demands a certain type of listening from the audience.”
Catch L CON performing this Friday in Fredericton as part of Shivering Songs.