Growing up outside Fort Worth, Texas (the birthplace of Ornette Coleman), Stephenson spun Botany out of a youth full of music handed down from a drum-n-bass-producing older brother and a guitarist father– borrowing effects pedals and drum machines from both, before his first experiments with recording software at age fifteen. A drummer foremost, Stephenson went on to study Jazz drumming, piano, and guitar in college before dropping out, primarily focusing on sample-based music all the while. He concedes, “I spent most of my time there opening the top of the piano to pluck the strings with my fingers, or scraping vibraphone bells with a cello bow, really anything I could find to create interesting sounds that were kind of atypical to me at the time.”
After a brief stint playing drums for an experimental act in Denton, Texas he released his debut EP via Western Vinyl in 2011. Stephenson spent the next three years constructing his tour de force full-length debut Lava Diviner (Truestory), which was followed by the digital single Laughtrack, a collaboration with Father John Misty. Struggling to find foothold in the Dallas/Fort Worth/Denton area, he moved to a city with a long legacy of heady music, Austin, home of the 13th Floor Elevators and ambient kings Stars of the Lid, both of which spiritually precede Stephenson’s music. Quickly becoming a vital member of Austin’s bubbling electronic scene, in 2015 he released his hallucinatory love letter to hip hop, Dimming Awe, the Light is Raw , an album that Pitchfork called “…alternatingly danceable and meditative psychedelia,” and Gorilla vs. Bear called a “glorious synthesis of dusty hip-hop vibes and cosmic free jazz spirit.” Reading these descriptions, it’s no surprise that his latest full-length Deepak Vebera is even more unhinged from any single format than any of his previous albums. Moving beyond the limited expectations of any single genre, Deepak Verbera presents a closed-eye cinema quilted together from sounds both found and created, with a masterfully blurred sense of which-is-which. We can only assume its creator delights in keeping you guessing.
Botany has worked with Father John Misty, Mndsgn, Milo, Open Mike Eagle, Balmorhea, Benoit Pioulard, Heems, and many others.
Botany has revealed his new single Burning From The Edges Inward off of his upcoming album ‘Deepak Verbera’ due for release October 14th, 2016. Take a listen to the track via Soundcloud below.
‘Deepak Verbera,’ the third LP by Austin’s Spencer Stephenson aka Botany, bends the beat-driven path carved by the composer’s first two records into meterless cosmic territory, juxtaposing free jazz arrhythmia with cathedral- filling harmony, ringing o the temple walls with soaring grandeur. The billowing textures that loomed behind his previous output break unabashedly into the foreground, shedding the beats that once stenciled them in. What arises in the absence of discernible rhythm is a psych-inflected scrapbook of atmospheres with tremendous sonic and emotional breadth.