On the edges, with Fennesz in tow, and you want to make a psych record, oh, too late, Botany has beaten you to it. Using mixtures of genre defining equipment, from MPCs and samplers to trippy guitar dronings and choirs he crafts free-form psych soundscapes, that sound like Leyland Kirby may have dusted them off from his archive.
9/10 Robin Staff review, 13 October 2016
If Dilla had droned, he might have been Botany. An artist who collates fractures of euphoria from an open beta astral plane, Spencer Stephenson’s music is busy with parchments of bliss, coming together to create a wonderful ambient collage that flees through noise, free jazz on synths, foggy percussion, Garson-esque moog daydream, harp contemplation and soundtrack sentimentality. Sometimes this kinda music is still and unwavering; Botany’s, though, sounds like he’s inviting different people to tell stories ‘round a campfire.
A lot of the detail is won in the journey -- this record does a lot for the communications between different new age departments, recalling Alice Coltrane’s compressed ambience alongside psychedelic drones, gliding vocal harmonies, strung-out tape rewinds and Mary Lattimore’s harp flickers. So too is Botany a learned scholar of the post-rocking ambience that took shape off the back of Stars of the Lid, with the shimmering “Burning From the Edges Inward” moving from lilting rises in chords to a neo-classical piano fragment. "Clean Lungs" transposes a naturalistic landscape into an artificial climax, as if Stephenson is choosing which neutral sources to emote for. In a way, it's a record about making meditative music the journey, rather than the path taken on it. Every time I hear a new development in his music it’s like I’ve levelled up my transcendence stat.
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