For Western observers, many locations across a Russian map - with unpronounceable names and windswept railway stations - can appear unimaginably distant. They're destined to remain the object of both curiosity and fantasy. One such place would be Sterlitamak, a fairly anonymous town known primarily for its involvement in chemical engineering. Sterlitamak, to be more precise, is located in the Republic of Bashkortostan, i.e., between the River Volga and Ural Mountains. This is the home of Sergey Hutornenko, who writes intriguing electronic compositions under the stage-name of SV Hutor (СВ Хутор).
His last recordings were collectively called "Astra" and began in the oddest manner, with a quote seemingly taken from a local TV show. A young man was first interviewed and then loudly declared his lifetime commitment to heavy metal. "I've done time in prison, but that didn't change me. I'm a lifelong metal-head!" Hutornenko had sympathy for this stubborn dreamer.