Skip to main content
A Magazine for

The Manchester edition of Now Then is no longer publishing content. Visit the Sheffield edition.

Feeling Today

The press release for Botany's Feeling Today EP claims, as such accompanying info sheets are prone to do, that this is a record that, "draws upon many a genre but settles in none". It wouldn't surprise me if the PR for Jedward's 2010 opus Planet Jedward also laid claim to being an indefinable genrespanning enigma, as using such a turn of phrase is a handy way of slacking off from actually labelling a release with any kind of meaningful description, while making both the writer and the artist seem like a bit of a clever clogs in the process. The trouble is that when you don't lazily categorize something as 'uncategorisable' before tossing your pen down to kick back and gurgle along to Lee Nelson's Well Good Show, you start having to think of names for the pigeon-holes that you feel a song belongs in, and this is when tags such as 'post-dubstep', 'witch house' and - remember this old favourite? - 'nu rave' start to rear their ugly heads.

Botany's music would probably fall under the umbrella term 'chillwave', a now well-established but still ridiculously named genre, but after a while of listening to this EP you start to wonder whether it hails from a world where they don't even bother with such nuisances as words, and certainly not crudely fashioned genre names. To my mind the only possible ways of conjuring up such ethereal delicacies is to either barter at great length with cherubs, or hire some kind of well-meaning, hazy electronica-orientated Freddy Krueger type character to carefully pluck them from the world of dreams.

Teebs, Boards of Canada and 'Pause'-era Four Tet clearly got together at some point and decided that it should be Botany's duty to don the stripy red and black jumper and fedora, and harvest the most sparkling of gems from Dreamworld. The EP's opening track 'Feeling Today' is a gently ebbing and flowing chorale as interpreted by a Disney fairy, with glistening arpeggios swirling over a comfortingly patient throb, while 'Minnow Theme' feels like an eavesdrop in on a celestial production line, steady stamps and whirrs interspersed with distant snatches of blissful harmonising. 'Waterparker' begins with an excitedly jumbled rush of digital chatter, before emerging into a whirl of bright colours accompanied by a nostalgically pre-electronica drum beat.

'Bennefactress' dips the record into a more contemplative mood, before closer 'Agave' wishes you goodnight and good luck with the sound of muffled boogie softly seeping up from the final throes of an otherworldly subterranean party. This is an EP that doesn't so much "draw upon many a genre but settles in none", but rather "draws upon many a realm, and settles in this one". They'll be saying that about Planet Jedward as well one day, you mark my words.