Named after the Russian word for an uncultivated plot, this Russian three-piece has been creating, with the help of some of their friends, from scratch sonic elaborations that may have some parallels to the post rock genre, but which evokes a much closer vicinity to soundtrack compositions.|
Formed in the early years of the new millennium, Poostosh from Moscow released their debut Untime on their own and same titled record label in 2005. Four years later they are back with their second CD Herbarium, and haven’t really changed their approach. The fourteen featured tracks are without an exception short — between two and six minutes long — elaborations on different ideas, themes and moods. Fittingly the beautiful digipak gives information about who plays what instrument or handles what tool for every single piece. Don’t expect anything accessible though. It all feels remotely song-like, but generally Poostosh opt for unusual sound cocktails that range from the melancholic to the smartly witty. The latter is best proven by odd song titles like the opener Overjoyed To Hear The New Poostosh Album and Information Pressure Doesn’t Affect An Eagle.
After a short hour, this strange sonic excursion comes to an end and leaves me with mixed feelings. You can’t deny the inventive richness hidden within Herbarium, and given enough time and attention span, the dedicated listener with a taste for the bizarre will discover many amazing ideas that recall Pink Floyd during their most experimental phase. But if you decide to listen to the album without giving it the necessary concentration, it will run by like background music, hardly revealing all its qualities. The strange instrumentation (lots of melodica, moody synthesizers, accordion,...) gives the songs a distinct sound, yet one that is far away from a regular person’s listening customs. Those into experimentalism and enough time to spare should enjoy the crazy musical universe of Poostosh!
Poostosh’s latest outing is a wide-ranging, sometimes rag-tag collection by a Russian quartet (Mikhail Salnikov, Andrey Gavrilov, Andrey Kovalenko, Vitaliy Chaplin) that takes its music seriously while still leaving room for an occasional moment of cheekiness and mischief (cf. the tongue-in-cheek opener «Overjoyed to Hear the New Poostosh Album»). Issued on the band’s own Untime Records label, Herbarium is so named to reflect the heterogeneity of the album’s fourteen songs, the idea being that the tracks are like leaves, all sharing in certain qualities yet subtly different too (translated from the Russian, Poostosh itself means «uncultivated plot»); certainly there is no shortage of styles on offer, with the material drawing upon post-rock, ambient, electronica, dub, improv, and psychedelia genres. That difference applies to the group’s production approach too, with some pieces coming to life as explorative jams and others meticulously assembled layer by layer.
There is some good material here. Pensive and dream-like, «Life As We Forgot It» documents the group’s more serious side with a piano-centered meditation accompanied by guitar atmospheres, chiming bell melodies, and wind-like whooshes. Worthy too are the bucolic folktronic setting «Sasha,» «Birthnight,» a brooding electro-inflected meditation replete with e-bow, and «Swallowed by Untime, Vol.2 (live),» a soothing setting for pealing electric guitar and melodica. «La storia di un ragazzo che trovo’ l’amore ma perse la testa» offers a refreshing change of pace in presenting a charming, light-spirited folk song performed by an imaginary busking trio of acoustic guitar, melodica, and accordion players. Predictably wistful and nostalgic in spirit, «The Meadow of My Infancy» stands out as a nice synth-heavy setting that evokes the carefree summer days of childhood, while «We’ll Be Back» caps the album with a pretty piano-and-synth outro.
The album sometimes opts for a loose feel—too loose, some may feel—in its incorporation of free-floating improvs, such as the post-rock-styled «Leprechauns’ Gang,» the meandering dub-rooted «Dreamers Who Are Brooders (Almost Live),» and «Rain Autumn DPRSSN,» a sleepy mini-jam rooted in laid-back funk and hip-hop rhythms, and the inclusion of a mildly interesting noise experiment such as «Corneal Abrasion» can render the hour-long album a hit-and-miss affair. It’s a diverse and pretty good collection, then, if one whose impact is diminished on occasion by that somewhat loose feel.
Poostosh! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!11one1!! Untime is their CD and its a comforting listen full of pastoral pleasures, mixing folky guitar with a soft bedroom electronica/ambient feel. Synths wash around in the background while subtle melodies float around on the wings of doves. Poostosh though! LOL! Phil splutters that hes reminded of early Air on some of the tracks and he also wretches that theres a bit of Yellow 6 in the guitar playing.. At some points I think the six string work veers into Durutti Column territory too. There are a couple of more downbeat tunes that sound like they could easily be soundtracks to some sort of glacially-paced eastern European existential road movie but on the whole Im thinking more in the region of hazy childhood flashbacks in low-budget 70s films. Here, Poostosh, whys your band called Poostosh though? Thats well funny!
«Coalescing sprawling cinematic electronica with earthy organic folkiness, ultimately this album from Russian experimentalists Poostosh is a soundtrack just yearning for a film. Hearty accordions tussle with static background murmurs in conjunction with meticulous mixing evoking ambient elemental landscapes. A touch disjointed perhaps, as it jolts from the whispery wateriness of „Swallowed by Untime“ at the half way mark, into the jarring arcade game tension of „Corneal Abrasion“ (where something sinister has befallen into the hero of the unseen epic). But order is then restored rather beautifully in the resonant reverby piano of the last track „We’ll Be Back“. Gentlemen, the door will be open.»