This Just In: Botany

The promo for Botany’s latest arrived a few weeks ago and I was stoked to check out new beat-driven tracks by a producer who’s never disappointed me. I popped it on and, wait – no beats. Well, not in the way I was used to from Botany. What I heard instead was, dare I say, far more compelling. This was warm, new age psych that was ALL OVER THE PLACE. All I could think about was how Botany got from point B(eats) to X, Y, Z and then some. I listened to the album half a dozen times and kept hearing new things. At one point I was stuck in traffic under a double rainbow with lightning bolts coursing through the sky, listening to this masterpiece (no, that wasn’t a metaphor). Then, after becoming very familiar with tracks and their clever titles, I finally read something about the album, and learned even more. “Concept album” doesn’t even begin to convey it. Deepak Verbera is incredible, and if you think I’m exaggerating, take a moment to listen to it and read about it yourself. -MLE

Botany – Deepak Verbera LP
Listen: Full Album
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 off 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.

Deepak is a Hindi word meaning ‘lamp’ or ‘source of light,’ and Verbera is a Latin word meaning ‘lash’ or ‘scourge.’ This pairing of words articulates the exact dynamic at play here, as brightness intensifies only to dim into darkness, the album vacillates from heavenly luminosity to earthly severity, soothing and searing in patient turns.

In essence Deepak Verbera is a soundscape record created through methods usually found in hip-hop; vinyl samples, looped vocal phrases, pulsing bass, and warm synths all shimmer with kosmische-indebted splendor, like Popol Vuh with MPCs and a stack of secondhand records. ‘Whose Ghost’ opens the album in absolute upheaval, challenging the listener to endure an Albert Ayler-style clamor of argumentative drums and brass. Those who weather the storm are soon consoled by the library-music-inspired ‘Has Appeared’ which cleanses the palate for the ascendant, ‘Ory (Joyous Toil).’ Its incense laden sister song ‘Burning From the Edges Inward’ plays like a mini-album unto itself, seamlessly shifting moods with each passage as rolling waves of acoustic piano diffuse into smoked-out guitar drones and witch-like choirs. Side A ends with ‘Outer Verberum,’ a guitar-heavy track which can only be described as ‘free-psych.’ Tracks like ‘Gleaning Gleaming’ are built out of micro-snippets of soul records that cascade over themselves to become something wholly incomparable to their source.

The album’s back cover explains that this music is an attempt to recreate the lost audio recordings of a little-known mystic traveler, Horris E. Campos. During the 1970’s and 80’s, Campos claimed to have contacted entities made of light that transmitted information to him through vibratory tones, which he then emulated on tape using various overdubbed musical instruments. Whatever the details of Campos’ story, Deepak transcends this esoteric source to become an allegory of Stephenson’s own ability to speak to the ether and bring the message back to us.” -Western Vinyl

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Ethnomusicology – new releases, reissues and restocks…
A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders LP, The Low End Theory 2LP
Alt-J – This Is All Yours 2LP
Amos Lee – Spirit LP*
Automatisme – Momentform Accumulations LP
Beach House – Depression Cherry LP
Beastie Boys – Licensed To Ill (30th Anniversary) LP*
Beatles – Abbey Road LP
Black Flag – First Four Years LP
Black Marble – It’s Immaterial LP*
Bob Marley & The Wailers – Uprising LP
Califone – Roomsound 2LP
Cavern Of Anti-Matter – I’m The Unknown EP 12”*
Clouds – DJ Ultra Greatsword EP 12”*
Coldplay – Parachutes LP
Connor Oberst – Ruminations LP*
Cop Envy – Total End EP 12”*
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Live In Europe 2LP*
Crystal Castles – Amnesty (I) LP
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories 2LP
De La Soul – The Grind Date 2LP
Depeche Mode – Violator LP
Dry Bread – Yamar 7”*
Earl Sweatshirt – Doris LP, I Don’t Like Shit I Don’t Go Outside LP
Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear CS
Fela Kuti  & Africa 70 – Afrodisiac LP*, Shakara LP*, Zombie LP*
Fela Kuti – Gentleman LP*, London Scene LP*
Flamin’ Groovies – Groovies’ Greatest Grooves LP*
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours LP
Gang Starr – Hard To Earn 2LP
Goat – Requiem 2LP, CD
Godspeed You Black Emperor – F# A# LP
Gorillaz – Plastic Beach 2LP
Growlers – City Club LP*
Guerilla Toss – Flood Dosed LP*
Helado Negro – Private Energy CS*
Iggy & The Stooges – Raw Power LP
Inc. No World – As Light As Light CS*
Iron Butterfly – Heavy LP*
Jay-Z – The Black Album 2LP
Jimi Hendrix – Machine Gun 2LP
John Brown’s Body – Fireflies LP*
John Coltrane – Blue Train LP, Giant Steps LP, My Favorite Things LP
Johnny Cash – At Folsom Prison LP
Junior Boys – Kiss Me All Night EP 12”*
Katie Gately – Color LP*
Kings Of Leon – Walls LP*
Kuedo – Slow Knife 2LP*
L7 – Bricks Are Heavy LP
LCD Soundsystem – Losing My Edge LP, Sound Of Silver 2LP, This Is Happening 2LP
Leonard Cohen – I’m Your Man LP
Los Amigos Invisibles – The New Sound Of The Venezuelan Gozadera 2LP*
Lou Reed – Transformer LP
Luke Roberts – Sunlit Cross LP*
Marcel Dettmann – DJ Kicks 2LP*
Mark Lanegan – The Winding Sheet LP, Whiskey For The Holy Ghost 2LP
Metallica – …And Justice For All 2LP, Metallica 2LP, Ride The Lightning 2LP
Michael Jackson – Thriller LP
Miles Davis – In A Silent Way LP, Kind Of Blue LP, Sketches Of Spain LP
Mono – Requiem For Hell 2LP*
Murmur – S/T 2LP
Nas – Illmatic LP
Neil Young – After The Gold Rush LP, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere LP, On The Beach LP
Nick Drake – Pink Moon LP
Nicolas Jaar – Sirens CD, LP*
Nils Bech – Echo LP*
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here LP
Prince – Purple Rain LP
Off World – 1 LP
Oozing Wound – Whatever Forever 2LP*
Queen – News Of The World LP, S/T LP
Quicksand – Slip LP
Red Fang – Only Ghosts LP*
Roisin Murphy – Take Her Up To Monto 2LP
Rolling Stones – Beggar’s Banquet LP, Hot Rocks 2LP, Let It Bleed LP, Some Girls LP
Royksopp – The Inevitable End 2LP
RX Bandits – …And The Battle Begun 2LP*
Selena – Ones 2LP*
Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks LP
Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – Savvy Show Stoppers LP*, Sport Fishin… LP*
Shins – Chutes Too Narrow LP
Smashing Pumpkins – Gish LP, Pisces Iscariot 2LP
Songs:Ohia – Magnolia Electric Company Deluxe 2LP
Squirrel Nut Zippers – Hot LP
Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 2LP
Swet Shop Boys – Cashmere LP*
Sybarite – Waver The Absolute LP*
Syrinx – Tumblers From The Vault 3LP*
Tame Impala – Currents 2LP, Lonerism 2LP
Tears For Fears – The Hurting LP
Terry Allen – Lubbock (On Everything) 2LP*
Them Two – Am I A Good Man 7”*
The Cure – Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me 2LP, Three Imaginary Boys LP
The Fleshtones – The Band Drinks For Free LP*
The Fugees – The Score 2LP
The Moles – Tonight’s Music LP*
The Moondoggies – Don’t Be A Stranger 2LP
The Naked & Famous – Simple Forms LP*
The Postal Service – Give Up CS, LP
The Strokes – Room On Fire LP
Thelonious Monk With John Coltrane – S/T LP
Tom Ze – Fabrication Defect LP*
Tycho – Dive 2LP
Various – Eccentric Soul: Capsoul Label 2LP
Various – Fania All-Stars Live At Yankee Stadium Vol. 1 LP
Various – Fania All-Stars Live At Yankee Stadium Vol. 2 LP
Various – Pied Piper: Pinnacle Of Detroit Northern Soul LP*
Various – Studio One Radio Show LP
Vatican Shadow – Media In The Service Of Terror LP
Velvet Underground – Velvet Underground & Nico LP
Wax Tailor – By Any Beats Necessary 2LP*
Wolf Parade – Apologies To The Queen Mary CS
Wrong – S/T LP
Wu-Tang Clan – Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) LP
ZZ Top – Eliminator LP*

*Indicates new release or new reissue