Russian Version

Rambler's Top100

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!

Textura Review

Poostosh: Herbarium
Untime Records

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.

Textura Review

Poostosh’s Untime is one of those albums that appears out of nowhere but quickly ends up lodging itself determinedly into one’s daily listening regiment. The album’s eleven folk evocations effortlessly transport one to panoramic country fields of times past, in a style that recalls Björn Olsson’s (nowhere more evident than in the framing pieces, «Nachalo» and «Detstvo,» where liquidy electric guitars breezily solo over strumming acoustic guitars). Born in 2002, the Moscow-based group’s name means ’uncultivated plot or heath’ in Russian, and Poostosh member Mikhail Salnikov established Untime in 2005 as a forum for releasing the band’s music.
Acoustic and electric guitars form the nucleus of the troupe’s sound but it’s fleshed out by other instruments (melodica, keyboards, flutes, harmonica, percussion) and samples (like the gunfire that casts a shadow within the glistening folk reverie «Dreaming»). The bluesy acoustic piece «Tell Me about Peyote,» for example, is nicely enhanced by bird-like flute twirls and percussion. One of the album’s loveliest pieces, «Then,» is characteristic of the album’s tone: initially a brooding ambiance reigns (in keeping with the band’s original name ’Dark Brigade’) but the darkness is gradually alleviated by the uplifting wheeze of a melodica and whistling electronic swirls.
There’s a subtle psychedelic tone to the group’s sound but it’s primarily experimental folk with a strong atmospheric dimension boosted by contemporary production methods. Though the band’s recorded material originates from improvisations, the resultant songs seem far more structured than that working method might suggest, and they manage to sound rustic and traditional but not dated. One final note: Poostosh squeezes eleven songs into thirty-five minutes, with many of them two-minute vignettes, so Untime’s over quickly-not a bad thing necessarily and merely one more thing that makes it a release worth recommending.


Ondefixe review (French)

Semblant venir d’un monde à part, d’une autre époque, la musique de Poostosh n’en est pas à ses balbutiements. Datant de 2005, Untime est le troisième album de ce projet russe initié en 2002 et mené par Mikhail Salnikov (officiant également au sein de Mox et Quth) en compagnie d'Andrey Gavrilov, Andrey Kovalenko et quelques autres trublions.
Dans sa manière de concevoir et construire sa musique, Poostosh privilégie l’improvisation, la spontanéité, et enregistre ses morceaux en une seule prise de son. Ce qui ne l’empêche aucunement d’accorder importance et maniaquerie à la post-production, à l’ajout d’effets et aux traitements des sons en amont.
Bien que de nature différente, la musique de Poostosh, dans ce qu’elle offre de dépaysant et d’évocateur, se rapproche de celle des Gentleman losers, Es ou Paavoharju (les instruments et textures désagrégées, les voix lointaines de Dreaming ou Detstvo). Bien que largement improvisée (donc éprise de liberté), jamais elle ne heurte l’oreille, toujours elle s’avère mélodieuse (exception faite des élucubrations sonores de Man and sky wanderer). Pour le reste, beaucoup de guitares et de vieux claviers sous effets qui dialoguent pour servir de BO à des documentaires télé rétrogrades (Swallowed by untime), ou qui oeuvrent dans un registre très Pastorale (tel un State River Widening baignant dans un univers aquatique).
Par ailleurs, voix, guitare et basse sont passées au filtre sous-marin, dilués dans un écho distant (Soundtrack from «Tristesse»), semblent émerger du fin fond de la Toundra (les relents ethniques des flûtes et cordes pincées de Tell me about Peyote).
A mesure que l’on traverse ces paysages étranges, on comprend aisément que Poostosh avoue des influences aussi variées qu’Harold Budd, le Penguin Cafe Orchestra, This Mortail Coil ou Alexey Rybnikov (compositeur de musiques de film russe).
A coup sûr, si des labels tels que Type, Büro ou Fonal s’étaient penchés sur le cas de Poostosh, ils ne l’auraient sans doute pas laissé filer.

Sébastien Radiguet


Poostosh! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!11one1!! Untime is their CD and it’s 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 he’s reminded of early Air on some of the tracks and he also wretches that there’s 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 I’m thinking more in the region of hazy childhood flashbacks in low-budget 70s films. Here, Poostosh, why’s your band called Poostosh though? That’s well funny!

Clash Magazine

«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.»

Anna Wilson