A heady new project from Herbcraft’s Matt Lajoie, Ash & Herb pairs his psychedelic haze with partner in crime Ash (singularly named it appears), who provides some haunting vocals and lycergic instrumentation of her own. Not wholly divorced from Herbcraft’s earlier works, before they hit a heavier rock vein, the album wafts in on a puff of shamanistic smoke and settles down to craft temples in the woods. Picking out half ragas, divining rain spirits and then sublimating into a fine ether; the pair have captured themselves in some real improvisational glory. They catch the same spectral breath as Charlambides or Pocahaunted before them, finding solace in their own sense of time and place.
Tracks build up out of the clatter of percussion, feed on guitar and crumble away before they can imprint, occasionally picking up a lost transmission of blues scattered somewhere in the ionosphere. Lajoie’s early work as Cursillistas comes into play here, a band delighted in creaking and gnawing at the world in ecstatic bursts. He communes the same spirit for Ash & Herb, augmenting it into a smother smoke curl and pleasing some apparent Earthen gods with Ash’s harmonious call. There was a time when psych-folk went deep and there were plenty of folks poking around through the beautiful bliss of cacophony. Now, it’s fewer and further between, but Ash & Herb, like MV & EE, who head up their label Child of Microtones, prove that there’s still more to till in that soil.
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