The music of Russian born guitarist Konstantine Baranov examines the unexpected intersections between seemingly distinct worlds. Beyond the obvious mingling of East and West, in the hands of Baranov we encounter other collisions such that music expands and the distinction between instrumental riff and mundane ambient sound weakens. Beyond traditional definitions of instrument, spatial boundaries are blurred when he unites audiences to physical landscapes via interactive, embedded sound-scapes. For Baranov every part of the world seems to contain and be contained in, every other part, it is a puzzle that the artist explores musically.
In terms of recordings it is a relationship that began nearly 20 years ago. Since the conception of his first solo piece in 1989, while on tour with Nikolay Kopernik in Holland and Belgium, to his first solo album Nine Lullabies, coming just half a year after his departure, Baranov explored the boundaries of rhythm. By his own admission, the results of his first recording, Nine Lullabies, weresomething completely unexpected. His music, instead of being upbeat and rhythmic was soothing and spacious. Buoyed by this musical discovery and feeling unfettered by preconceived compositional outcomes, he recorded five more albums: The Skill of Expectation, Spring Collection, Autumn Collection, House on the Hill (a collaboration with Moscow guitarist Vladimir Kruglov), and Adieu! “Recording and mixing my own music became a necessity, almost an addiction,” Baranov recalls of this prolific three-year period. “I recorded most of the songs intuitively, without pre-conception, and it was only after they matured enough to reveal some of their character and temper that I would realize the meaning of a piece.” Such moments of recognition cannot be forced to follow something preordained, as Baranov believes titles almost always reflect the events or sostoyaniye of the current moment.
His resume suggests he’s equally at ease working as a guitarist, co-producer, or sound engineer having performed all such duties with bands Nikolay Kopernik, Alliance, The Keepers, Timezone, The Earthlings, Inflato, WORD and Life Copies Movies.
Life, and the music within, may indeed copy movies for by the mid 90-s cuts from movie soundtracks begin appearing in Baranov compositions. Sometimes heavily processed, or mixed such that the tracks are no longer recognizable, a few soundtrack clips provide the foundation for some songs in Snow on the Roof and Eye Traveling. Baranov admits his altered soundtracks could be a greater source of inspiration, but he instead favors a sparing use of them as additional textures in the mix.
In Six Year Summer, Baranov offers up a collection of recordings made between 1994 and 2000 in both San Francisco and Moscow. Global awareness informs his recordings even as his music evokes a feeling of otherworldliness. Travel is a recurring theme for Baranov as expected of an artist who makes music on multiple continents.
Eye Traveling, his 1999 release, begins with I Travel a polyrhythmic track of layered drums and shifting meter first heard on Six Year Summer. On this album Barnov’s musical wanderlust takes him to City of Durango, Hawaii, and the Dark Side.
With the 2005 album Foreign Silence Baranov rewards his listener with longer tracks that artfully mingle ambient room tones with orchestral sounds. There’s a cinematic quality to Foreign Silence and its musical depth rests on the decades of musical inquiry that preceded it. Its slow shifts and sustained tones underscore the artist’s commitment to a present moment just as they lure the listener into a deeper consideration of a world interpreted by Konstantine Baranov.