Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Vanbot - Siberia

We expect that Siberia is the only album you will hear this year that was entirely composed on the Trans-Siberian Railway.  And we mention that fact because it is striking, and to get it out of the way, because the music is the real story here, and it is good music.  Siberia is the third album from Vanbot, the performance moniker of Sweden's Ester Ideskog.  Ideskog and two collaborators boarded the train in the Russian capital, and traveled for 17 days to Beijing.  Along the way they composed and recorded the 11 tracks which, without any further production work or additional recording, became Siberia.

The songs on Siberia feature spacious arrangements feature icy synths and soaring, high register vocals reminiscent of Enya, or of Ideskog's fellow Swede Robyn.  Stylistically, they encompass ethereal electronic dreampop and more robust electro-pop.  The effect of this wide variety of approach results in an album that plays with the listener's focus.  The dreamier numbers are like intriguing aural background -- lovely, but giving the listener time and space to think and dream, perhaps with some inspiration from the song.  The faster-paced songs are more immediate, and more demanding, with thumping rhythms pull you into the track.  And I think that such changes in focus are part of the charm of Siberia, and part of why it works for me -- I listen to the album and imagine that I'm riding on a train, with my focus changing depending on the scenery, my companions, the location of the stations, and my mood.  The result is a different and enthralling listening experience.

Siberia is out now on all digital platforms, as well as vinyl and CD formats.


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