Chaos Illumination was formed over drinks one night in summer 2001 at a pub in Buxton between Mr Dibs (of Spacehead), Marie Jenkinson and Neil Ward. We were idly discussing getting together a few projectors to use for the bands Spacehead and Bedouin and came up with the name 'Chaos Illumination'. Martin Needham from Dr Hasbeen, and also guitarist for Spacehead, had four projectors (two Optikinetics Solar 250s, an Optikinetics Solar 100 and a Meteor 100) plus effects which he didn't use very often, so a mutually beneficial deal was struck, on the condition that Martin could use them when he
A large strobe light, smoke machine, some UV strips and cannon were soon added to give a reasonable kit for small gigs. A few parties and Spacehead gigs were the first use of these, followed by the addition of some more Opti Solar 250s with effects and prisms also being added. A Rank Aldis Tutor 2 in a poor state was also swapped for the repair of a video recorder, and then powder coated for more swaps.
We had attended many Bedouin gigs previously, and now we started taking the lighting along when space and time permitted, which added greatly to the atmosphere.
With a November 2001 Hawkwind tour approaching we were asked if we wanted to provide the lightshow, but declined on the grounds that the equipment we had was fine for a small venue like a pub, but would be pretty poor in the larger venues that Hawkwind were likely to play. However, events overtook us and we did end up using some of our gear alongside Jim Lascko from Solar Fire lights, which was quite an experience! It was at this time that a large Sanyo video projector was found, saved for and purchased, followed by a hurried compilation of images using Powerpoint on a borrowed laptop PC. The idea was to also use video clips from the PC along with images and patterns to add to the lightshow. Although, seeing as the only manuals provided with the video projector were in every language but English, this proved to be a bit of a struggle at first.
Another helper was recruited at his time in the shape of Keith Barton, who provided welcome support, particularly at a gig in Brighton where we ended up carrying the video projector around the streets at 2am! Keith has since got hold of his own Opti Solar 250s, which are sometimes added to the show, particularly as he is now also a member of Spacehead.
More gigs, festivals and purchase of yet more equipment during 2002 saw us ready to commit to the Winter 2002 Hawkwind tour with more confidence.
As we have had a number of months to add to our selection of slides, animated patterns and video footage the lightshow has dramatically improved from those first outings over a year ago.
More helping hands from Canadian visitor Eric Siegerman and Keith Barton were very welcome, and added to the community spirit of the lightshow.