Botany - Feeling Today

by Louise Harlow Rating:8 Release Date:2010-11-15

So the artist formerly known as Abacus has exploded from the humble maths aid moniker to operate under the sprawling banner of Botany. Fitting then, that the debut EP from the newly-christened Spencer Stephenson trickles through your auditory canals like a shimmering waterfall of bliss nectar. Title track 'Feeling Today' is a full technicolour submersion, where the echo of bells and throbbing synths are reigned in and rode majestically by Stephenson's sparse beat loops. Overhead, Ashley Rathburn's drowsy vocals ebb and flow atop intermittent fragments of conversational babble. No mistake, the cut of this man's cloth is Deeee-reamy.

Waft into the perpetual 2-step of 'Minnow Theme' , and there begins late night, half-cut backseat drives through city lights, underpasses and traffic haze. Redolent of The Books at the less demented end of their powers, here Stephenson splices mutated human laughter loops and the little drummer boy in a sample-led checkerboard where the beat is lynchpin. A quick nod here in the direction of Essex's bliss go-to man Gold Panda might be fair, there is clearly a shared leaning towards Derwin's preoccupation with the rising sun in the oriental-inflected samples of 'Waterparker'. This track sits expelling air bubbles from the bottom of your swimming pool, as zithers and chimes float above to break the surface...

If Brian Eno had ever considered a career in music therapy, then 'Bennefactress' is probably what he would have rustled up. Like a clockwork-starved cot mobile, befuddled bells chime over the skip, trip and falter of Stephenson's beat samples. Count back from ten and there's every chance... you'll... fall... In short, it's musical anaesthesia at its sun-glinted best. No surprise then, that atmospheric record closer 'Agave' brings little in the way of an aural slap round the face, (no double-speed freak-out or apocalyptic denouement to be found here) but underneath the horizontal skitter of beats and synths Stephenson whips out a mad, bad and broody bass hook out of thin air. Clever. Now all we need is David Attenborough to sync this entire EP to a stop motion film of an opening chrysalis.

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