CD REVIEW: Poostash - Herbarium
By Levi Canfield
Strengths: Use of atmospherics, Diverse palette of styles, Psychedelics
Weakness: Ambience jams too far, Consistent rise/fall patterns
Poostosh is the combination of four main artists from Russia plus many collaborators. The main quartet have been releasing albums since 2002 and their 5th album, Herbarium, is their latest release. It blends a diverse mashing of genres (Trip-Hop, Ambient, Electronica, Psychedelia) to make an album of 14 songs perfect for a rainy day tucked inside reading.
Poostosh chill out and capture ambient atmospheres that paint pictures of lush forests, vibrant landscapes, and vivid skylines with their sonic art. The entire album manages to capture this complete post-rock, psychedelic vibe all while integrating things like trip-hop, dubstep beats, bluesy guitar riffs, and other weird instrument arrangements found all over the record. It’s large spectrum of genres mashing together help make this album one of it’s own. Generally on ambient albums, the drone of one song flows into the next and keeps the album sounding very similar. This makes the entire record sound like one diluted mess, but on Herbarium the main four men (Mikhail S, Andrey K, Andrey G, & Vitaly C) have managed to successfully create an ambient album that is interactive enough to be more than just something for the background. Songs such as “Dreams Who Are Brooders” perks the listeners ears up first with the melodica rhythem then uses a strong dub-step beat with acoustic guitar break outs to create a commanding beat that is hard to be ignored. It’s hard to ignore the creativity the artists used to blend all the weird instruments and elements together. Another strong song that exemplifies what psychadelia Poostosh does best is “Frequency Domain of Love & Parting”. This song is more of the same for Poostosh, but in a good way. They make tranquil ambient, with just enough kaleidoscopic atmospheres and weird melodies to keep you relaxed and calm. This song uses the volume to build a strong rising, almost cinematic climax before crashing back down into quiet trepidation. Poostosh’s main strengths are the ability to abuse the open space of ambient rooms and the restraint to not drown out all the different sounds they create by keeping everything minimal. In this they have crafted an album perfect for relaxing to on a rainy day with a good book.
One of the biggest complaints, and most obvious people would have with this record is that it’s… well, ambient. This is definitely something you would not want to throw on at a party unless your friends plan on bringing a lot of “Herbarium” over. It might not be fair to the recording artist to criticize their genres, but the commercial viability does hurt the volume of listeners. The listeners who did go through Herbarium though probably noticed at times that it follows a lot of the same rise and fall patterns through out the record, and sometimes the extended jams probably felt a little stretched at places. Aside from the song “Corneal Abrasian” which just feels like it collapses upon itself, a lot of the album has the distinct notation of “jam” written all over it. A lot of the songs never truly evolve into more evangelical purpose other than change more for the sake of moving onto something different.
Despite it’s sardonic humor with song titles like “Leprechaun’s Gang” and “Overjoyed To Hear The New Poostosh Album” Herbarium is seriously an above average take on a commonly considered “boring” genre. At times their diverse palette can make the album feel disjointed going from one song to the next. The switch from “La Storia…” to “The Meadow of My Infancy” is definitely jolting when listening to the record as a whole. Either way, this diversion among songs can be a curse or blessing. While making them sound more original and all their own, it all gets jarring when trying to relax for more than 5 minutes at once. Their post rock, spacey sound is all their own, and above all else, they manage to capture that sound strongly. It relishes in it’s own strong atmospheres at times, but never totally leaves you wanting to switch to something more active. Instead, it lets you absorb yourself into it’s relaxed message.
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