Konstantin Schimanowski is a rising beauty in the noise of a contemporary music landscape that is by now mostly shaped by algorithmic monotony. An auteur, cinephile and mystic, well known in Berlin’s impenetrable art-world, Schimanowskis voice and musical style are instantly unique and once heard impossible to forget.
His upcoming E.P. VAILA is Konstantin‘s forth release and the second under his own name. If the Vague Pure Affection E.P. from 2021 felt like an evocation, preparing to step its brilliant avantgarde lights out of the fog, VAILA is a powerful dream, driving sublime waves through an elegant and emotional ocean.
The songs feel like poetic journeys. They are ethereal but mix with crisp wavy beats, familiar and warm but also distant and endless. Schimanowskis voice is gliding through this dreamlike scenery with powerful suspense – confidently flocculating into a vast glowing night sky.
The island Vaila is part of the Shetlands, a small group of islands in the northern sea, north of Scotland. It has an old wind brushed castle and no trees. For Schimanowski – who visited the solitary island years ago – VAILA is an imaginary space, liberating its visitors from the preconceived structures to see for themself, how the world actually looks like – and how painfully beautiful it can be when the tides are calm.
VAILA tells a phantasmic story about the gradual destruction of the small island in a perfect storm and the arrival of an ultraviolet light sky. „It’s like being freed of any point of view, to be thrown out into the unseen and unfelt and then discovering a new place inside and melt it with the reality around you.“ And that’s how VAILA unfolds, like a discovery of unknown territory for the soul.
The theme of transition is embedded into this record. But the motion is more a perceptual one: it flows towards openness. „Actually it was like watching the world turn in slow motion, at least that’s how I experienced it,“ Konstantin says. „In the end it felt near effortless, just happening and the music falling into place. But to get there took about six years.“
The busy creative enrolled in many side projects and art-world activities, sound-art and scoring being the most prominent of them, creating sound installations for big Berlin museums and exhibitions across Europe and scoring arthouse-movies.
„But in the end, I always return to these songs, they are like my home. As a person with no sense of place I need them to cherish my longing for understanding and warmth.“
Elegant and poetic, Schimanowski is working closely with the famous Danish-Ukrainian artist and fashion icon Sergei Sviatchenko. They are connected not only by heritage – both share Ukrainian roots – but also by an intimate thread of a shared creative esthetic. „When I met Sergei and we started arguing about architecture and film, it took us about 1 minute to realize that we would be together in a creative sense. It felt so liberating to open your eyes in this connected way, like the space around you had just multiplied.“
And so step by step the esthetic of texture and sound found its shape. „Sergei brought these fashion principles to the project which looked like a modernization of a timeless classic style and it felt right to me immediately. So I changed clothes for this contemporary super-stylish look Sergei calls modern classicism.“ And that is where the story begins.
Schimanowski’s lyrics play in an intermediate field of reality and imagination, the island of VAILA being a metaphor for an isolated parcel in a digitally connected global world. The experience of modern life told as a kind of fairy tale.
This reflects the inner perspective of the many small dots that exist in the ocean of an interconnected reality. And the story of VAILA takes place at the border of these billions of islands, where true connection is possible and other worlds begin. How this will play out can only be lived from the inside by crossing the border of imagination.
Actual reality for Konstantin is a place of true mystique, full of poetic and raw sensation. „It is very real in its effect on us, we feel pain when we disconnect from it. It can be enigmatic and intense, but also very calming.“ And maybe this is one of the most beautiful takes from his vision of music, that it links us to a realm that is always present in the everyday world and opens a door to let it shine into our lives.