Poostosh: Untime

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 regimen. 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, “Nanchalo” 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.

December 2007