Bob Baran discusses his unique approach to creating music...
(The following is the transcript from a recent interview with composer,
performer, and producer... Bob Baran.)

 

Is it true you were awarded a federal trademark for your unique style of music?

Yes, in January of 2007, my record label Gathering Wave ® LLC was awarded a federal trademark registration for Escape Music ®. It was a significant validation from a very credible source and served to ratify our contention about our unique and original style of music.

Is it pretty unusual for an artist to receive a trademark for a style of music?

Yes. This may be the very first time this has ever happened. So we are very excited about having a protected trade mark which will always be a reminder of the unique experiment in "Quantum-Hypnotics™" that unleashed a flow of quantum consciousness music. It was an amazing creative journey.

You also achieved an important artistic benchmark with the release of your solo piano album, Escape Music ® A New Dawn in 2006...

Yes, I was honored to have been qualified by the Recording Academy's "classical committee" in three categories for the 49th annual Grammy ballot. This was in addition to "New Age Album of The Year" and was a powerful professional endorsement of what was a significant creative reakthrough that resulted in "A New Dawn.."

I was also able to pioneer a new procedure for mastering. "Sound Painter High Definition Mastering". Escape Music ® A New Dawn, was the first album to benefit from this new process. Our future releases will all incorporate this wonderful new mastering technique.

You now use the term quantum consciousness to describe the type of music you are creating?

Until recently I used the term stream of consciousness. The reason I have embraced quantum consciousness is because it is a much better description of the actual creative process that takes place, than the term stream of consciousness. It was the direct result of literally unleashing my creativity using a process I call "Quantum-Hypnotics™".

How would you simply describe quantum consciousness music?

I would have to say quantum consciousness music is music that comes from a place of "knowingness" which bypasses the mind's analytical process. What I am talking about is music that comes from a place of pure feeling where you don't think about what you're going to play...You just play. What this means is that at any point during a performance I am only focused on the instant of musical creation. I am not concerned with what I may have played before or what I am going to play next. It is a creative process where I am completely "in the moment".

I have read that your performance is in fact the composition?

I will never be able to repeat any of the pieces of music captured on the albums. They were all spontaneous musical improvisations. In other words, I didn't know what the first note was going to be or what the last note was going to be until I played them. So for me to be able to play any of the piano pieces I've released for example, would be impossible without first having them transcribed so that I could rehearse them. Of course I would never do that. I don't have the time or the patience. Each piece represents the very best I was capable of creating at the point in my life when I did it. So as far as I am concerned they are finished. That doesn't preclude you from hearing some aspects of music that has already been released from reappearing in the future compositions. The beauty of quantum consciousness music is that it relies on your entire experiential background in order to more perfectly manifest itself.

Are there certain steps you take to prepare in order to compose in the quantum consciousness manner?

Yes. Using the "Quantum-Hypnotics™" process I am able to achieve a state of calm and more fully surrender to my unconscious "knowingness", - trusting my creative journey - I am able to sense and feel the music as I'm playing it. This is very different than playing a rehearsed piece of music that has a predetermined structure and outcome.

What do you mean by knowingness?

It's a word I use to describe a place of tranquility I experience when I am playing a spontaneous piece of music. It is as if I can feel the musical outcome before I perform at or actually hear it. This is a very different experience than playing a pre-determined piece of music where you already know what you have to play next.

Which of your current CD releases would you consider to have been created from your quantum consciousness?

The albums that reflect this creative process most fully are "The Life on Mars", "Martian Wonders", "Sound Paintings", and "Escape Music A New Dawn".

Isn't "The Life On Mars" and "Martian Wonders" multi-instrumental music?

Yes they are. I achieved huge strides in my creative process with these two albums. I was able to use the quantum consciousness composing technique (and the "Quantum-Hypnotics™" process) along with a virtually unlimited musical palette. This gave me sounds, textures and colors that I would never have been able to achieve in any other manner.

How do they differ from "Sound Paintings" and "Escape Music A® New Dawn?

Well, with the Martian music each instrument track was its own complete improvisation. Which was reacting musically to the tracks previously recorded. So in any given piece of music you would have multiple improvised instrument tracks. This was the first step in the process.

The second step in the process was was editing, which was itself improvisational. The only purpose of the editing was to ensure that the multiple improvised tracks were not at any point in time hindering the flow of the entire piece. I refer to this as getting the "noise and resistance" out of the music. It was as if I was unblocking the natural flow of the music through the editing process. This was a intuitive procedure that always resulted in surprising and beautiful new music.

And your procedure for the solo piano albums?

"Sound Paintings" and "Escape Music ® A New Dawn", were completely unedited live performances. Not a single note has been changed from the original performance.

So you could say your solo piano albums are your purest expression of quantum consciousness?

Absolutely. You can't imagine the thrill when I listened back to the recording of each piece. It was literally the first time I had heard the music as a whole. I am so in the moment when I am playing I honestly have no idea what I may have just done a few seconds before and absolutely have no idea of what may be coming next.

I noticed a difference in the feel of "Sound Paintings" when compared to "Escape Music ® A New Dawn".

I think "Sound Paintings" which was recorded in 2004, was more of a showcase of possible stylistic treatments. What I mean is it was a collection of different piano styles that all used a similar creative process. On the other hand, "Escape Music ® A New Dawn" which was recorded in 2006, was a stylistically cohesive collection of spontaneous live unedited solo piano performances. Inspired by a singular event... A breathtaking sunrise over the Rocky Mountains in southwestern Montana.

For me, "Escape Music ® A New Dawn" also benefited from two more years of an evolving creative process. Because of this it was the most perfect personal experience of creating quantum consciousness music I have ever had... And I believe you can hear it in the music. It's all just fits together seamlessly, perfectly.

On "Sound Paintings" you did have one track that used some additional instruments; "Flight of the Eagle"...

That's true. That was a recording I did in 2000 which featured an unedited live performance on the piano with the addition of orchestral strings and a wind synthesizer playing a violin like sound. Using the same improvisational technique with the additional instruments, plus the intuitive editing process, I was able to enhance and support the piano. On that particular piece of music it was a two-step creative process the same as it is on the Martian music. Spontaneous performance and spontaneous editing.

Your two other albums, "The Birds Of Selenia", and "The Art of Love", do you also consider those to be quantum consciousness?

Well, "The Birds Of Selenia" was my very first album which I recorded in 1987 and 1988. It was originally released in late 1988. And at the time I composed and performed those tracks I was still improvising but I was playing against a pre-determined rhythm track. By design those tracks are more analytical because I was trying to achieve a certain outcome.

Those tracks are stylistic hybrids of smooth jazz, New Age, chill and urban contemporary. I was going after a certain kind of sound and mood. However, I did use a great deal of intuition in the creative process. "The Art of Love" was recorded in 2004 and could be considered a creative extension of "The Birds Of Selenia". I was however, able to use a greater degree of quantum consciousness creative technique on this album.

What do you see coming in the future from Gathering Wave ® and Escape Music®?

"Escape Music ® A New Dawn" was such a benchmark for us on so many levels that it reaffirmed a direction for the label. The musical direction we are focusing upon is going to be more solo piano-based and multi- instrumental. Similar to the "The Life On Mars" and "Martian Wonders". Our performing group Mars Effect, already has a substantial amount of music recorded, but it is in a very different vein than what we have released so far. So, we may see a release or two coming soon from Mars Effect. This may be available as a digital only release for our online partners like iTunes, emusic and the many other online stores around the world where our music is now available.

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