Volume 92, Issue 52
Friday, December 4, 1998
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Sowing the seeds of psychedelic love
Photo by Olivera Obradovich
By Serena Leyes
Psychedelic is the term which seems to have attached itself to the contemporary band Poppy Seed and the Love Explosion Orchestra.
Steven Bromstein, the lead singer/guitarist explains the meaning behind the word. "Psychedelic is improving or ad libbing music. The idea is taking music away from forms. It is more than just sound. It contains a lot of instrumental solos."
The music on the band's first album, Days Dream of You, is just that smooth, heavily instrumented and sublime. Bromstein's voice has an ethereal, deep and seductive sound. Like the name's allusion to opium suggests, Poppy Seed uses music to transport the listener away from the here and now, to another world.
The band, which has six or more members at any given time, is different than the average pop bands who have surfaced since the beginning of the '90s. The album employs many instruments, such as the bassoon, sax, keyboard and percussion to create a unique sound.
Bromstein says the purpose of the album is based in human feeling. "I wanted to capture many different emotions," he says. "Each song has a different emotional theme." However, rather than forcing the listener to feel a certain set of emotions, it discreetly lures them in to stay and enjoy the seductive serenity.
When asked if he feels he is creating a new musical style, Bromstein modestly denies the accusation. "I wouldn't say we invented a new style. In fact, I've heard bands in London [England] are beginning to play more of this psychedelic pop. It's like borrowing the psychedelic sounds from the past and creating my own new sounds."
When speaking of his own influences, Bromstein cites a number of varied artists. "Pink Floyd, Sid Barrett, Zombies, Love, Teardrop and even the Cure," he states, adding the bands of the '70s are his strongest artistic and musical mentors.
"I wouldn't say today's music industry is worse. There are just too many niches people attach themselves to [and they do so] closed mindedly."
His band certainly can't be accused of conforming themselves to a specific listening audience or musical style. However, when it comes to the future, Bromstein is wary. "I hope we can hit the mainstream. I want to start in England to get the band going because the industry there is more directed at pop bands," he says.
Can the public hope to hear more from Poppy Seed? "There will definitely be another album, a more concise and organized, one taken from the master thesis," Bromstein says, referring to the first album in which he took on the challenge of novice producer. He compares his editing and producing to an essay in which a vague idea changed, expanded and transformed with time.
Although Bromstein was a beginner at producing, he has had plenty of experience with live shows, playing the Toronto scene since the beginning of the '90s. With his background in live performance and a promising CD, the show tonight at The Embassy should be nothing short of psychedelic.
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