Bisamråtta | Travels

Adventures through Russia with St. Petersburg electro musician Bisamråtta


St. Petersburg guitarist and saxophonist Vladimir Luchanski who has taken on the pseudonym Bisamråtta (the Swedish word for muskrat) records meditative, ambient electronic music, that tears the listener from her city bustle. His new album, coming out on the Novosibirsk label, Echotourist, is dedicated to little adventures across Russia.

Vladimir Luchanski: Adventures have inspired me since I was a little kid. It just so happened that the first time in my life when I managed to get out of the Urals to the European part of Russia, I was 20 years old.

My first flight was when I was 22, and the first time I left the country was at 24. For most people, that’s pretty late, since many travel around everywhere during their school years.

But starting from when I was 10 years old, I would go on hiking trips with my dad. Altai Krai and the Altai mountains, Baikal, the Sayan mountains – every year we would go somewhere and it was always an adventure, since traveling to far off corners was not so easy.

First, you take the train to a big city, and from there, another train or bus to a smaller settlement. Then you try to find a local with a car who can drop us off directly at the start of the route to the mountains.

Then it’s the wild forest, animal tracks, passes, glaciers, and zero civilization. This experience is actually pretty rare as I later came to find since there aren’t many who have been to the mountains every summer, let alone serious hikes.

Starting in 2010 I began traveling through Siberian towns while connected to music – Krasnoyarsk, Kemerovo, Tomsk, Barnaoul. These relatively close travels continued those summer adventures from my childhood, since this way is independent from transportation and takes up a significant amount of time.

Thoughts, conversations, stations and the local flavor in the window, flying from right to left (or left to right), – all of this presents itself as a totally separate part of the trip, when there is no rush or time-sensitive matters and you become aware of a particular feeling of time and vastness.

And it’s these exact feelings of “little adventures” around our country and the connection to it, which everyone has, is what I wanted to bring forth in my recordings – to share the contemplation of the forests and fields in the windows of the bus, until the next one in the neighboring town.

Travels album artwork:


I carried the idea for an album like this for a very long time, and I tried to begin one a few times, but I’ve only succeeded bringing it to life just recently, after my move to St. Petersburg.

Here lie a collection of old things that I was fixing a relatively long time ago in Siberia, and new things, that I’ve been recording in Petersburg. It’s funny how in one moment, all the material came together into one picture, like a mosaic, and I’m very happy that it’s coming out on Echotourist, a label made by my friends who I have know for a long time.

There is a wonderful Novosiberian artist, Lera Petunina, who has made some lovely illustrations, that can very aptly be considered in the theme of realism – when I asked to her to paint these pictures, I only told her of the ideas of these travels, with total freedom in terms of subjects and materials, and she completed the task brilliantly.

The result is an intentional, great work, and it gives me great pleasure that I can finally put a period down along with the release of this tape.

I don’t know if I’ll be traveling anywhere in the near future, except for my frequent route of St. Petersburg, Moscow, St. Petersburg. Probably it will be somewhere in Europe, but I would really like to visit Petrozavodsk, to spend some more time in Kareli, and explore the Leningrad oblast. Probably this summer I’ll be able to plan a hike in the Khibiny Mountains – that would be amazing.

Original: Aleksandr Belikanov, http://m.colta.ru/articles/music_modern/14649

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