The Russian Linesman makes music to capture his feelings and emotions – his own audio diary. The catalyst for this latest, bold, four-part musical project was located in a tattered old book (unearthed from his parents’ loft) and explores the psychology of Hans Eysenck’s four temperamental categories and the emotions they encompass, a project that the British Psychological Society have already endorsed in their recent review here:
A disparate collection of respected musical mavericks including Nemone (BBC 6Music), Max Cooper, Steve Miller (Afterlife), Samy Birnbach (DJ Morpheus), and Quivver (on John Digweed’s Transitions Radio Show) have already been incredibly supportive of the Russian Linesman’s new project, and this enigmatic artist has become a somewhat cult figure over the past eleven years, crossing paths with the likes of James Holden, Nathan Fake, Ryan Davis, Applescal and Laurent Garnier, along the way. With such a healthy dose of leftfield musical diversity running through his veins, it was inevitable that he would make some very interesting ‘Back To Mine’ selections…
“Over the years many friends have been subjected to me greedily commandeering the stereo, digging a trench and refusing to move until I have played all the songs that I feel they should hear. I’m pretty bad with stereo etiquette… The selections below are some of what you might hear if you let me near a stereo late at night, the irony being I rarely have people back to mine, instead choosing to create chaos at friends’ houses. Now I think about it, I really am an awful house guest… So while this feature is called “Back to Mine”, in reality I am probably round your house!” – Russian Linesman
Just Got Back to Mine (Your House)
I’ve kicked your front door down, run over to the stereo and taken over… I promise I will only play ten songs then go home… probably.
My Bloody Valentine – To Here Knows When
What better way to cleanse your mind after hours dancing to techno in a club, than to come home and put this beast of a song on. I am pretty sure it sounds different every time I listen to it. The whole thing is so unsettling – like time is slipping out of sync. The music is just endlessly reaching into the future and the past. You have no idea how far into the song you are and the only solution is just to let yourself go and submit to it. An incredible song. I love all the stories of Kevin Shields’ recording methods – recording individual drum hits and sequencing them as he didn’t trust drummers… I guess that’s what I do! Ha.
Led Zeppelin – The Song Remains the Same
When I first moved to Nottingham, I was 22 and made sure every weekend was full of fun. I met lots of new people, in particular Ollie, Dan and Liam of the now defunct band “Made of Leaves” (although there is talk of a comeback). Most Saturday’s I would end up back at their house watching Led Zeppelin’s “The Song Remains the Same” or Pink Floyd’s “Live at Pompeii”. This song in particular brings back lots of happy memories of a very funny time.
Kecak from Baraka
Another DVD we would often put on would be the documentary “Baraka”. It starts off with serene monkeys relaxing in natural icy pools. It then takes you on an amazing tour of the world through themes of nature, tradition, technology and industry. I am not sure this clip is even a song? People seem to refer to it as “Kecak”. These lads are amazing, just absolutely going for it!
Ash – Sky Burial
The sound of a teenage pop rock group twenty years later, matured and comfortable with their craft…This is Ash showcasing their whole career in ten minutes bar any singing. A modular instrumental of arpeggios, wild solos and changes of pace… This song is a proper journey. There are so many times I’ve danced with friends in their living rooms or attics to this!
Nirvana – Serve the Servants
In this age of Spotify and YouTube, music has never been so accessible. I also appreciate the Internet has allowed me to share my music with the world… However, I do think the value of music has been lost somewhere along the way. I loved Nirvana as a kid, growing my hair long and walking round wearing cardigans. I remember the anticipation I felt in 1993, waiting for the release of Nirvana’s “In Utero”. I grew up in a small village in Lancashire called Croston, my only access to music news was through the NME or Melody Maker. I spent an entire weekend washing neighbours cars to pay for the album and the train ticket to Action Records in Preston, the nearest proper town to where I lived. I made the trip, bought the CD and came straight home. I listened to every single second of that CD four times in a row. I really made sure I appreciated every single second. Thankfully, the whole album was amazing! Conversely, I can be very guilty of not appreciating music these days. The urge to skip songs while streaming instantly can be too great… I need to be more patient like I was when I was washing cars!
Been Back at Mine (Your House) a while
…People have stopped dancing round the living room. You are now sat down and have given up trying to wrestle me off the stereo.
Stumbleine – Cassette
“Linesman’s going to put Stumbleine on AGAIN!” shouted Ollie… Any list I make like this is going to end up containing Stumbleine. Most of the songs he has produced are simply incredible. The vocal on this has that perfect sense of yearning to it. Faultless synths and percussion compliment the astounding vocal delivery. I have never skipped through a Stumbleine song in a random playlist, the music just works in any situation.
Bent – Swollen
Another beautiful introspective song… I love the lead vocal and delicate piano samples. I have been listening to this song for years. I never grow tired of it. Strangely this song sounds even better in the morning, it seems to suit the dawn, but I still often play it late at night. There is a video on YouTube of Simon Mills going through all the hardware gear he has in his attic, its fascinating, track it down…
The The – True Happiness This Way Lies
Acoustic guitar and a solitary vocal… A song about how nobody can ever be truly happy. A song full of the truths we never admit to ourselves. It can be very sobering to listen to – a real mood exterminator, but absolutely amazing and full of empathy. Just listen to the lyrics.
Sonic Youth – JC
I remember being given a tape of Sonic Youth’s “Dirty” by my school friend Austin, it was morning break while we waited for a Chemistry lesson, I was eating an iced bun… I listened to that tape so many times it got quieter and quieter and it seemed to erase itself… I wasn’t sure I liked it at first but kept wanting to listen to it again. I didn’t understand it… The noise, the lack of apparent structure followed by overt structure, the noise, switching singers, the noise, the guitars that sounded wrong and discordant… the noise! It took about five listens through to for me to get it. I quickly became obsessed with Sonic Youth, travelling to records stores and market stalls all round Lancashire to buy all sorts of bootlegs and rarities. It is impossible to choose a favourite song by them but I often find myself listening to “JC” late at night. It has everything I love about Sonic Youth in it. It’s also another song that seems to sound better in the morning! I love the last line “You’re walking through my heart once more, don’t forget to close the door.” So final! An untidy song, that has clearly inspired some of the soundscapes on my new “Eysenck Suite II- Choleric” EP.
Woody Guthrie – Ranger’s Command
I love a good old yarn and this song is a good old yarn. Woody Guthrie’s archives are an unbelievable resource of tales about a time and place I will never understand. I have never protected my cattle from rustlers in the Wild West, but listening to this I can imagine what that might be like.
Still Back at Mine (Your House)
…About now you’re wondering if I will ever leave.. You said ten songs… I’m not going yet and everyone is starting to think about sleep.
Jon Hopkins and King Creosote – Immunity (Asleep Version)
This song is beautiful. King Creosote’s vocals are just otherworldly. This is even more apparent on this “Asleep Version”. The whole song is just so subtle. Consistently idyllic throughout. No one is dancing now, everyone is really starting to wind down, reminiscing or dreaming of the future… A truly good-natured song and I can’t deny that this song has influenced my song “Sierra Madre”, which is coming out on the fourth Eysenck Suite EP “Phlegmatic” (set for release July 2017).
Nick Drake – Parasite
Around this point in the evening I will start going on about how much I love Nick Drake. Talking about my days performing at the Nick Drake Gathering, sat round campfires in the moonlight. All this before I sold my soul to the electronic imp! His style has had a major impact on the way I write music (Nick Drake that is, not the imp). As a result, I still try to keep as much of an organic spine in my music as possible. He was a man tragically born in the wrong time. He hated the limelight. He could have happily existed in this day and age, not performing and namelessly releasing his music over the Internet. I guess I’m lucky I am able to do that…
Moderat – Rusty Nail (Live)
I can see that you are flagging a bit now, so I’m playing this song to get the momentum going a bit – just a bit though… By this point in the evening I’m also feeling a bit sentimental. I love this song for so many personal reasons. When my son Harald was born, I spent hours listening to this song with him as he slept. The title and lyrics are a weird sentiment but the music just fit that moment perfectly. This live version is a great version – Apparat’s live vocals really take it up a notch from the original. I love the way he holds the melody a little bit longer and the drums cut out at 1 minute 27 seconds.
Somfay – Hypnogogii
I’m getting the message now… It’s time for me to go home… However, still feeling sentimental I have another song I want to play… Jesse Somfay’s music is like no other music I know. Every song he produces seems to evolve and become something ingeniously different from where it began. This song is about that strange state our minds enter just before we drift off to sleep. The threshold of consciousness, where we start to experience lucid thought and dreamlike disorientation. It can be a very blissful part of the day. This song captures that feeling perfectly. My favourite part is when the melody creeps out about six minutes in. I’m convinced this song has magical qualities – I play it to my son at bedtime every night. No matter how excitable or restless he is, this song never fails to calmly send him to sleep. Jesse is a sorcerer – he should market this song to new parents!
Russian Linesman – The Eysenck Suite II (Preview)
You are asleep… But I have just realised I haven’t played any of my new music… I wake you up and make you listen to my new EP “The Eysenck Suite II – Choleric”… a demanding EP of seven anxiety-laden songs that have no place this late at night! Time for me to go…
Russian Linesman – The Eysenck Suite II – Choleric (Loki Recordings) loki011 is released 29th May 2017 Beatport: