Whilst it may not be audibly apparent, Botany mastermind Spencer Stephenson initially aimed to craft an instrumental narrative surrounding the religious sect that peculiarly pray for a volcano to erupt. Whilst this is an interesting allegory to draw inspiration from, the finished product documents a much more emotive personal journey that, through a hazy fantasised dimension evokes ideas of escapism and wanderlust.
'Lava Diviner'’s opening number ‘Comm’ is characterised by a trembling wave of disorderly percussive beats before dusting itself off and erupting with dreamy vocal harmonies. Fused with a meticulously crafted composition that integrates haunting synthesised whirls and rattling wind chimes, this makes for one extremely engaging listen and a promising start to the record. Botany continues to paint bizarre and mystical worlds with his production and fully succeeds in evoking grand, colourful and surreal landscapes in the mind of the listener. Lead single ‘Anchor’ shines brightly in this alternative domain as celestial synths dreamily flicker before the album plunges in to a much darker place for the eerily produced ‘Owa’. ‘Simple Creatures’ diverges from the rest of the album as RYAT (who is signed to the eternally cool and Fly-Lo curated label Brainfeeder) adds a pleasant human vocal touch to what is mostly a cosmic soundscape.
Throughout the album Stephenson continues to diligently weave a collage of musical textures and although he diverges from the intended volcanic theme of the record, it takes you on a journey just as a good concept album should. There are moments of darkness but these instances are joyfully juxtaposed with tracks like ‘Celeste’ which lays down a grainy guitar melody and intertwines elegantly with a classical string arrangement and a contemporary jazz infused beat.
Given the electronic and beat-based nature of the project, it would be easy for some to mistake this as an album intended to soundtrack late-night debauchery. However, in reality the record hosts a much more intimate and soothing experience that Stephenson has moulded as a product of his catharsis. Therefore it is a record that is best enjoyed in the way that it was it was produced; dim the lights, lay back and immerse yourself in isolation with a record that is profoundly emotive and hypnotic.
Words: George Hemmati