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Botany - Dimming Awe, the Light is Raw (2015)

28-09-2015, 12:56
Music | Electronic | Ambient

Botany - Dimming Awe, the Light is Raw (2015)

Artist: Botany
Title Of Album: Dimming Awe, the Light is Raw
Year Of Release: 2015
Label: Western Vinyl
Genre: Electronic, Ambient, Dreampop, Chillwave
Quality: 320 Kbps
Total Time: 39:54 min
Total Size: 101 MB


01. Sungblood
02. Raw Light Overture
03. Au Revoir w/ Milo
04. Birthjays
05. Glow-Up w/ Matthewdavid
06. Jotu
07. All is Rite
08. Bad CGI
09. No Translator w/ Milo
10. You Might Be an Eye
11. A-Word / Dim
12. Monthiversary w/ RYAT

Austin producer Spencer Stephenson, aka Botany, has lofty ambitions for his brand of warm, psych-inflected electronic music. Initially born as a side project from Stephenson's gig drumming for Denton electro-acoustic outfit Sleep Whale, Botany has since grown into a full-fledged solo act with a peculiar net of influences: sci-fi pulp novels, "emergent" music, beat architects Madlib and J Dilla, psych and krautrock, free jazz virtuosos. It’s no wonder Stephenson has described his music as "studious," and often provides long, sometimes brainy explanations in interviews about what his mood-driven soundscapes are all about.
Dimming Awe, the Light Is Raw, Stephenson’s second full-length under the Botany moniker, scours away the haze of his underrated 2013 debut Lava Diviner (True Story). That album, the soundtrack to an imagined sci-fi film about a "geological religious sect hell-bent on destruction", was dazed and occasionally too dense, but on Dimming Awe he winnows the widescreen approach down into what feels like a clear step forward in both quality and execution.
Stephenson’s biggest strength as a producer is his ability to weave all of his influences—Eastern-based samples, throbbing hip-hop beats, stretches of noodly ambient—into alternatingly danceable and meditative psychedelia. Opening instrumental tracks "Sungblood" and "Raw Light Overture" bounce appealingly between xylophones, bright-eyed melodies, and lilting vocals, even if they hew a little close to Adult-Swim-commercial territory. The circuitous and unpredictable Chicago rapper Milo enlivens "Au Revoir" and the soporific "No Translator", the latter of which distinctly recalls FlyLo circa When the Quiet Comes. Milo is a good foil for Stephenson: The looped sampling of a laugh track and French chansons on "Au Revoir" neatly align with Milo’s meandering, stream-of-consciousness verses. "Au Revoir" and "No Translator" are also Stephenson's first time working with a rapper, an experiment that bodes well for a collaborative EP with Lushlife (featuring appearances from Shabazz Palaces and Open Mike Eagle) slated for next year.
Stephenson has said that much of this album was improvised, his way of taking cues from jazz favorites like Herbie Hancock and Pharoah Sanders. You can hear it in the improv drumming that clatters around in the background of "Birthjays" and the synth ad libbing that drives "All Is Rite", little touches of ingenuity that insist upon repeat listens in order to catch all the different nuances at play. In a world as carefully constructed and satisfying as Dimming Awe, it's a worthwhile requirement.

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