KonstantinAS’ Plastecene Terrain is a spiritual journey of guitar pieces which organically wind through Eastern mysticism, earthy blues, 1960s psychedelic, and modern ambient touchstones. The debut is a full sensory experience innovatively packaged as a DVD with video capabilities—each track is carefully linked to corresponding artwork.
The album name, Plastecene Terrain, references a popular Soviet children’s animated film. “The words mirror the music,” KonstantinAS says. “These compositions were made and re-made many times over the course of the years I spent creating them - just like a plasticine landscape which has been remodeled over and over.”
Before moving to his current home in Cyprus, the artist spent several years developing his sound in London. However, it was at the tender age of two in his home town of Almaty - a Central Asian outpost of the Soviet Union which is today in Kazakhstan - that KonstantinAS discovered the guitar. His father was a bassist and kept a guitar near KonstantinAS’ nursery. Fascinated by the mysterious object, he would reach out and run his fingers up and down the strings. As a teenager he received a Fender Stratocaster from his parents and lessons from a family friend named Alexander. His father and Alexander introduced him to quintessential classic rock artists such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Nazareth.
It was a creatively fertile time and KonstantinAS pursued music with a monastic devotion. He found a wealth of inspiration in Arabian and Indian music systems, his own experiments in tuning musical instruments, and the work of great musicians such as Jimmy Page and Ravi Shankar.
The vast musical possibilities presented by the new sonorities he was discovering became his artistic beacon. He sought out Jimmy Page’s exotic and fluid improvisatory tuning techniques for guitar, whereas he applied the sitar’s tuning to electric guitar. Overall, this diverse palette of foundational influences informed his personal music with spidery melodicism.
The tracks on Plastecene Terrain are instantaneous compositions, meaning they were written in the moment – with the listener actually experiencing the creative process. “I compose and record at the same time. I simply start playing and record. Afterwards I listen to the recordings and start working with them, arranging, modifying, adding, subtracting, deleting and so forth,” KonstantinAS explains.
The tracks are strikingly sensual with spiraling guitar leads and sublime ambience. They transport the listener, demanding full attention. Coupled with stunning accompanying visuals, the overall feeling of the experience could be characterized as religious.
Each track’s visual representation was created on the basis of conversations between the KonstantinAS and the designer to convey the mood of the composition. “Interesting artwork is as necessary as great music,” KonstantinAS says. “Visual art, just like music, affects our feelings, and their symbiosis often strengthens and deepens the effect. In other words, the impact of music is more powerful under the influence of corresponding drawings and photographs.”
KonstantinAS’ thirst for knowledge and his scientific mind have led him on multiple journeys outside of music. One such foray is the field of technology. In 2001, while attending the AES 19th Conference in Shloss Elmau, Germany, KonstantinAS had an epiphany on how to best present his music. At a discussion called “Surround Sound – Techniques, Technology and Perception” he discovered how the pristine clarity of this breakthrough in fidelity could be applied to mainstream music. “Right then and there I decided that my recordings would be in that format,” he says.
The very reason that Plastecene Terrain was issued in the DVD format is because it allows for multichannel 5.1 Surround Sound playbacks in combination with video capabilities. This is the optimum format for KonstantinAS’ panoramic vision. The high fidelity of 5.1 Surround Sound makes the music dynamically vibrant.
“Self-realization is my main goal,” KonstantinAS says in assessment of his ambitions. “Any work or business venture should be successful. If I receive a Grammy, I will be happy, but I won’t jump over myself to get it, thus recognition per se is not a goal.”