'This project is a proper human interest story'

Our editor Jon Sutton speaks to electronic artist Russian Linesman about his new 'Monomyth' series, drawing on Jung's theories and Joseph Campbell's analysis of storytelling.

My ears have always pricked up when those with a background in psychology go on to make music. Sure, most songwriters will have a pretty good grasp on the human condition, and intriguing observations on why we think and behave as we do are not the preserve of those with a more formal education in psychology. But what does that extra schooling bring? Psychologists dabbling in bands is one thing, but how about those (such as Floating Points) who release music more professionally? 

Russian Linesman, who studied Psychology at Loughborough, has been recording music in his Nottingham lair for 12 years, writing acoustically and capturing snippets of vocals, guitars and pianos, and wrapping them in a warm electronica blanket. He has released numerous singles, EPs and two studio albums to date, often inspired by his travels (e.g. ‘Bratislava Story’, ‘Icelandic Story’). 

His follow-up, ‘Nostalgia Story’ was a trip into happy childhood memories interspersed with more recent events: 37 songs recorded live in one take.  

2017 saw him release an ambitious project titled ‘The Eysenck Suites I-IV', a series of 7-track mini-albums across a year that explored the psychological theories of Hans Eysenck. This was followed in 2018 by remix interpretations of some ‘Eysenck Suites’ moments. 

He is now launching his new project consisting of six four-track EPs that will be released throughout 2019–2020, at bi-monthly intervals. Joseph Campbell’s ‘A Hero with a Thousand Faces’ is an analysis of centuries of human storytelling, based around the anthropological theories of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, and this fascinating book has provided the blueprint for an artistic abstraction of the concept of the ‘Monomyth’. It's a formula we are all familiar with in modern day films and books: the common template of a broad category of storytelling that involves a hero who goes on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis wins a victory, then comes home changed or transformed.

“I’m fascinated by the idea that everybody has a good story or novel in them,' Russian Linesman says. 'I have spent two and a half years going back and interviewing various people I’ve met during my life, and listened as they shared their stories. Each song has been composed with the relevant stage of the Hero’s Journey (the Monomyth) in mind and accompanied by one of these fascinating collected stories.' 

The first EP, Monomyth I – The Departure, features the tracks 'The Call To Adventure', 'Refusal Of The Call', 'Meeting With The Mentor' and 'Crossing The Threshold'. 'Refusal of the Call' is a particular highlight, with a more insistent beat and melodic line supporting the intriguing, anonymous voiceover: 'I've realised I've wasted my life aiming for goals that aren't really mine'… 'hitting rock bottom' made our hero realise 'there must be more to life' than the societal norm of climbing the career ladder. Russian Linesman concludes:

'All the individual stories twisted into a patchwork of yarns that tell an even greater story than I could have ever told on my own. In ‘Star Wars’, the droids make all the space opera weirdness accessible. My droids are my storytellers, my narrators. Placing some of the stranger musical moments within reach of the more casual listener. A hero is only as great as their villain. This project is a proper human interest story.'

The series outline in full: 

Monomyth I – The Departure
“This first stage of the mythological journey…signifies that destiny has summoned the hero.” – Joseph Campbell

Monomyth II – The Road of Trials
“You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path.” – Joseph Campbell 

Monomyth III – The Special World
“The ultimate adventure, when all the barriers and ogres have been overcome.” – Joseph Campbell

Monomyth IV – Apotheosis
“Once we have broken free of prejudices…it becomes possible to understand.” – Joseph Campbell 

Monomyth V – The Return
“…the labor of bringing back the runes of wisdom… He rises, returns to them, and dwells with them as an egoless center…” – Joseph Campbell

Monomyth VI – Resurrection
“Having died to his personal ego, the hero no longer fears death.” – Joseph Campbell

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