Botany | Feeling Today EP
At only 22 years of age, Texan Spencer Stephenson changes his moniker more often than some folks change their hairstyle. Just last year he was performing as Abacus, but changed to Botany for what his Soundcloud page calls “practical reasons.” (Perhaps he is referring to the rather large number of other musical projects that also use the name Abacus.) Stephenson actually released the title track from Feeling Today under the Abacus name in the summer of ’09.
On Feeling Today, Stephenson explores trippy, drippy rhythms in a way that Animal Collective might, were they willing to use a lighter hand. The pan flute, chimes, and xylophone duke it out on “Waterparker,” but Stephenson keeps them all in play at once, and no one sound can be declared the winner. The EP is airy and open. Stephenson bends familiar melodies, so they feel more spacious, but his longest tune, “Minnow Theme” is just over four minutes long. It’s a compliment to say that Botany’s tracks feel longer than they are.
Feeling Today is made for sedentary times and decent quality headphones. Stephenson plays with rhythm expertly as the kick drums and tom fills intersect with junglesque clicking sounds on the EP’s last track, “Agave.” Although these percussive sounds create a groove that hints at movement, all of the bipping and bopping never actually makes it out on the dance floor. Feeling Today’s five tracks should earn Stephenson plenty of new fans who will be anxiously awaiting release of Botany’s full-length debut next spring, courtesy of Western Vinyl.
Listen to “Agave” from Botany: