PREMIERE: Vanbot Traverses “Siberia” Via Ambient Electronica On Her Third LP

The Swedish artist explores the relationship between time, location, and emotion—all on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Seventeen days is an awfully long time to spend on a train; it’s also an incredibly short amount of time to compose, arrange, and record a complete album. Swedish musician Ester Ideskog—a.k.a. Vanbot—did both at once: her sophomore album Siberia is named after the Trans-Siberian Railway, the entirety of which she traveled in a grand experiment to conceptualize, create, and finalize a new album. This drastic songwriting style sprung from Vanbot’s desire to force incredibly strong limitations upon herself—an attempt to avoid having to discard a full album after years of work, like she did in 2013.

Vanbot recruited Johannes Berglund (who’s previously worked with The Knife, Lykke Li, and FKA Twigs) and Petter Winnberg of Amason to help shape her fledgling musical ideas into the wanderlust-infused, gently pulsing electronic music of Siberia. Their Trans-Siberian journey confined them to a tiny train compartment, where the overwhelming sense of isolation contrasted the train’s constant motion and intermittent arrival in cities across the tundra. Restraints both physical and chronological forced Vanbot and her collaborators to work in ways they never had.

Nights spent removed from any traces of civilization informed the introspective glide of Siberia, which we’re thrilled to be premiering today ahead of its April 7 release. Vanbot describes her memories of Siberia’s genesis as feeling like entries in an alternate universe, and there’s indeed a sense of wonder, awe, and foggy disbelief in its songs. Swaths of sunrise-like euphoria are common in both the sparser tracks, such as “Hard To Get Used To (Baikal),” and those with more tangible grooves, including “Close Enough (Ulan Bator).” You can give the roaming, ambient electronic of Siberia’s eleven tracks a listen below.

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