Joseph Herbst has released something truly original with This Is Our Environment. The record itself is a complex intertwining of jazz and spoken word that blends together for a beautiful product. The instrumentals keep the spoken word element alive and flowing throughout the record and offers a channel for Herbst to speak out on some important topics.
The spoken word comes out as a slam poetry accompaniment to the coffeehouse instrumentals. The verses are powerful, often politically charged words that offer a heavy dynamic to the music, driving each new phrase in the composition.
"They Say There Are Beautiful Trees" opens the album with a soft piano introduction. The piano pairs with the slowly building rhythm section that collects the rest of the instruments together for a fierce crescendo. The instrumental that was building throughout the song then breaks away to reveal a piano coda that calls back to the beginning.
"Make No Cents" marks the half-way point on the record. The final moments of the song marks the best blend of instruments on the record with each sound mixing together for a complete movement. The song also stands out as the album's longest but easily the most consistently engaging.
"Estrange Us" serves as the highlight for the record with a complex tenor saxophone solo by bandleader Joseph Herbst at the end that pushes the composition to stand out from the rest. The song provides a more anxious mood and tone compared to the others on the album. It's a high energy song to draw the listener back in before the album's finale.
The album's dichotomy of cool jazz and spoken word is an interesting concept that enlists the idea of a poetry night at a coffee shop. It works well overall and provides a unique listening experience.
They Say There Are Beautiful Trees; Momma Nature (ft. Dasan Ahanu); Solastalgia; Mama E (ft. Cynthia ‘THiA’
Sharpe); Is This My Fault?; Erring of the Revolution Pt. 1 (ft. Yexandra 'Yex' Diaz); Makes No Cents; Erring of the
Revolution Pt. 2 (ft. Yexandra 'Yex' Diaz); Iron Eyes; LEGACY (ft. RaShad Eas); Estrange Us; Communion (ft.
RaShad Eas); Simple Life (ft. RaShad Eas); Visions of Freedom.