Sorting through a range of colorful nuggets from his sampler bank, Spencer Stephenson makes psychedelic, wandering beat music as Botany. Feeling Today is rather spirited, but its punchy rhythms are smoothed-over in a syrupy, dense medley of long-lingering harps, abundant bells, and keys, often wound backward. It’s complex stuff for a newbie who saw the light in his brother’s production software.
Stephenson, who was trading under the Abacus moniker not long ago, follows a direction on Feeling Today‘s “Minnow Theme” that’s mighty close to what went down in Dan “Caribou” Snaith’s early days, but the sources are older, as if Snaith made Up In Flames with a basement full of obscure, musty records. Headphone-friendly rumblings dart to and fro via school of fish-like acrobatics on this aptly-named effort. Moments later, the producer pulls out wayward jazz samples and bird calls for “Bennefactress”, where brushed snares and vibes that could’ve landed on the outtakes portion of Ninja Tune XX offer more than nostalgia. Doused in reverb, vocalist Ashley Rathburn’s contribution to the hummable title track is a gem, too. She sounds comfortable in the bleary but tangible pop that’s Stephenson’s very own. It differs from the EP’s more familiar fare, and he ought to dabble in it more often.