Local jazz pianist Geoffrey Dean, aka Baraka, pieces together electronic compositions with his usual eclectic ambience on his latest album, The Shifting Horizon. Moving through downtempo chillwave and lo–fi trip hop, each new track has a distinctive personality, standing alone rather than flowing into one another. 

“Because of the state of the world and how things were, I definitely took more time with this one than ever before,” Dean said of the two years it took to finish the album. “I really wanted to try to have songs that were all singles — something for everyone.”

Dean started the Baraka project in 2013 while he was earning a master’s in jazz piano at University of Tennessee as a means to make music from a different perspective. What started out as an experiment ended up growing organically into a prolific discography and longtime collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Dylan Dawkins, who plays as Persona La Ave.

“I like to put samples of voices in there sometimes, but I like to let the chord structure do most of the work,” he said of balancing the atmospheric quality with engaging layers. “Unique sounds — those are kind of your hooks in a way, because you don’t have the lyrics.”

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