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The Making of... "Bridge To An Open Heart"
You can't sugarcoat or embellish what you really feel. At least once in your lifetime you have to put everything on the line. "Bridge to An Open Heart" is exactly what the title says it is, the bridge I had to cross to my own open heart. Created during a time in my life where I could no longer hide who I was or what I felt, this album surprised me with its stark revelations of my need for true love in my life.
"Bridge to An Open Heart" is both personal and universal. Can you honestly say that you haven't felt the joys and pain of love's journey? In the deepest part of yourself have you not craved the real intimacy of true love? That need we as humans have to feel connected to ourselves as well as to another.
This album is unique and not like anything else I have composed. The way it came about, the way it was performed and produced was an immediate reaction to my day to day experiences. This is a raw, no-holds barred bearing of my soul. It took place during a time I found myself a single man going through the process of understanding what true love meant to me.
Each song actually began as prose. As I encountered the emotional flavors of a given interpersonal situation I was able to distill what seemed to be a confusing barrage of feelings into words which had a cathartic effect on me. As I gained clarity from reading back the prose I began to hear music and ultimately made the connection between my instrumental music, the words and my own vocal abilities.
An essential part of my journey was learning how to embrace the "natural man" inside me which would allow me to recognize the "natural woman" I was always seeking when she finally appeared in my life.
Of Technical Interest...
"Bridge to An Open Heart" is composed, performed and produced by Bob Baran and is in an adult urban contemporary/pop musical style.
All songs were recorded at 44.1khz 24 bit with the exception of "Immersion" which was recorded at 44.1khz 16 bit. All songs were mixed from a Pro-Tools tdm system to an Ampex ATR 102 analogue recorder.
Selmer Mark 6 alto and soprano saxophones and Keilworth SX90 tenor sax were used along with Kurzweil digitally sampled sounds in the production of this album. All vocals are me. (Bob Baran)
If you have any other questions about the making of "Bridge to An Open Heart" please feel free to email me at: Bob Baran
The Making of... "Escape Music ® A New Dawn"
"My jaw dropped when Baran told me I wasn't listening to a live recording of his acoustic grand piano"...Rich Meyers, City Editor, Helena Independent Record
The art of recording is the ability to use all available technologies, to capture as transparently as possible those aspects of a live performance which are necessary to suspend disbelief and allow the listener to experience the emotional impact of that performance at a time and place of his or her choosing.
My musicianship has always served as a mechanism to give voice to that which initiates, shapes and tempers the creative flow inside me. So am I a composer or am I a musician? In my case they are one and the same. Everything I do musically is a direct effect of my compositional process. I will do whatever I am capable of which enhances and supports my creative process. I guess you could say I will go anywhere musically and technologically and do anything artistically which has the potential of inspiring me to achieve a more perfect musical connection with my creative flow.
For many years I struggled with capturing the perfect live piano recording. I wanted to make a recording that would allow me to hear the individual notes, feel the dynamic changes and experience the visceral emotional impact, the energy and intensity of the original performance. I just want to close my eyes and be there in the room with the piano...And I've invested thousands of dollars and hours into learning what to do and what not to do in my quest to achieve this.
A most fortuitous event has recently transpired in world of instrument technology which made me rethink my performance recording process. What if I had at my disposal a "perfect" 9 ft Steinway grand piano. Always in tune, always perfectly mic'd. All I would have to do is sit down and play. Never again distracted by any part of the recording process. Think of it! All I would have to do is "lose myself" playing...
This long time fantasy of mine was suddenly made possible with the recent introduction of Synthogy's "Ivory German Steinway D Concert Grand Piano". This technological breakthrough has made it possible for me to spontaneously compose on the piano at a level of personal fulfillment I had here to fore not been able to achieve. Keeping true to my established "unedited live performance" and stream of consciousness criteria as well as utilizing proprietary recording and mastering techniques, I believe I have created a new personal benchmark of Artistic accomplishment... And a truly beautiful solo piano recording with "A New Dawn", the first CD to be released in the "Escape Music®" series.
About The Creative Process...
The freedom this instrument has provided to me has allowed a more complete surrender, without distraction to the creative process. I find that when I become more fully immersed I am barely conscious of the last three or four seconds of what I have played and just ahead of what I am actually playing. I become an audience of one in this state, each note being an amplification of an emotional flavor I may be locked into at that very instant. It's a sublime trance like state that is the most personally satisfying and produces the most surprising musical results.
I believe I am able to achieve a disconnect from my left-brain conscious filtering mechanisms and slip into a right-brain unconscious feeling state. It's like getting rid of baggage that colors and modifies the real essence of the music. What's interesting is that I believe there is a constant swinging back and forth between these two mind states during any given performance. This might be what creates the "charged" state of anticipation I sometimes feel when I play...And the immediate joy I feel as I resolve the challenges that come from constantly jumping off the cliff and finding new ways to land on my feet.
Now here's an interesting point: As the balance between these two states (left-brain and right-brain) shifts towards a more fully right-brain state, a feeling of relaxed knowingness overtakes me and I cease to anticipate what's coming next. Thus I release myself from the charged inner tension and I seem to go much further musically taking more risks yet with a much, smoother execution and with much greater flow. It's like getting inside the music and intrinsically knowing how the different ideas naturally fit together and having this experience instantaneously. This is the most surprising and exciting place for me. "A New Dawn" is the most fully right-brain state I have yet achieved in a live performance. I hope you enjoy this album.
This album was recorded at Sound Painter Recording Studios on June 25, 2006 and July 6, 2006. It was mastered using the proprietary "Sound Painter Deep Image High Definition Mastering" process.