July 5, 2018 | doors at 8:30pm
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Irrelevant Music presents:
Botany | Dot.s
  • $10
  • $12
The Octopus Project

The Octopus Project has been releasing joyous party music since 2002, following a musical path that veers through blown-out rock’n’roll, vibrant electronics, surreal pop and expansive psych landscapes. All these complimentary/contrasting elements have been packed into their sixth and latest album, Memory Mirror, creating a sonic world that is at once more diverse and more focused than any of the band’s work to date.
Writing and recording the album were aspects of the same process, with inspiration coming from sounds, accidental textures and rhythms that would then be shaped into songs. “Small Hundred,” for example, was born out of a recording of a champagne cork popping at the end of a European tour. That sound - distorted, pitched, and played as a rhythmic sample, became the arpeggiated rhythm that drives the song’s wordless chorus. The stuttering keyboard pads on “Pedro Yang” came from a previous, failed synth composition - when it was arbitrarily chopped up and rearranged, the new rhythms that emerged suggested a slow-motion float that the song came to embody. The real fun, though, lies in marrying these abstract inspirations to beats and melodies that reach out and grab you. The looping sequence that runs throughout “Woah, Mossman!!” may be in 10/4 (we think?) but it’s the insistent backbeat and rising vocal refrain that get stuck in your head.

Memory Mirror also represents a more focused approach to instrumentation and arrangement, in contrast to the heavily layered style explored on some earlier albums. Though the songs range from blasting guitar rock to blissed-out ambience, each has a sense of space has allowed the band to pursue heavier sounds and wider vistas than ever before. A nose-puncher like “Cuidate” blasts out of the speakers no matter the volume, while “Remember Remembering” with its soaring Theremin choir and “Ledgeridge” with its serpentine synth finale transport the listener to another world.

Though the album was primarily self-recorded at home, the band was thrilled to get work with two incredible engineers, Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Tame Impala) and Danny Reisch (Shearwater, White Denim) in the mix process. In early 2016 they eagerly accepted an invitation to work with Fridmann at Tarbox Road Studios in Western New York. With the album only partially written, Fridmann would spend the day mixing a completed song, while the band availed themselves of the extensive studio facilities and instrument collection to work on the remaining tunes. Coming out of that session with a stellar mix of a partial album, the band returned to their hometown of Austin, TX to finish writing and figure out the next step for the record. That next step turned out to be Danny Reisch, who stepped in as mix engineer and worked closely with the group to craft the remaining songs and shape the album into what it ultimately became. The result is an album that features the band’s DIY recordings enhanced and augmented by two of their favorite sound wizards and fellow ear-candy enthusiasts, and they are very very stoked about it. Enjoy!

About the band:

The Octopus Project is Toto Miranda, Yvonne Lambert and Josh Lambert. Based in Austin, TX, the group of multi-instrumentalists has released six albums, starting with 2002’s Identification Parade. Touring clubs and festivals worldwide both on their own and as handpicked support for artists as diverse as DEVO and Aesop Rock, they’ve earned a reputation for explosive live shows and immersive audio-visual experiments. Also active as composers for video games and film, they were awarded the Special Jury Award for Musical Score at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival for their work on the film Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter. The band is currently at work on a score for Damsel, directed by the Zellner Bros. and starring Robert Pattinson & Mia Wasikowska, now in post-production.

Their newest album, Memory Mirror, is out April 7, 2017 on the band’s own Robot High School label.
"With only a handful of releases to his credit, Texas native Spencer Stephenson has covered a vast, impressive array of musical ground with his work as Botany. Integrating live instrumentation and dusty samples, his compositional techniques are informed by hip-hop and beat-heavy electronic music, but they reference spiritual jazz, psychedelic folk, ambient, and numerous other styles. His work varies from more rhythmic, pulsating tracks to free-flowing washes of sound, but it's always conscious, uplifting, and organic. Originally from northern Texas, Stephenson started experimenting with music production as a teenager, inspired by Four Tet, Madlib, J Dilla, and others. He began sharing his music online in 2008, and his first EP, Feeling Today, was released by Austin-based Western Vinyl in 2010. A bit more poppy than some of his later releases, the recording featured vocalist Ashley Rathburn. Botany remixed artists such as Ryat and Cuushe and produced a track on Lushlife's 2012 album, Plateau Vision. After relocating to a farm outside Austin, Stephenson recorded his full-length debut, Lava Diviner (Truestory), which appeared in 2013. Dimming Awe, the Light Is Raw, the most hip-hop-oriented Botany release to date, appeared in 2015 as a limited LP; guests included rapper Milo and Leaving Records founder Matthewdavid. In 2016, Botany released Deepak Verbera, a surprising excursion into cosmic music and free jazz, channeling artists such as Alice Coltrane and Popol Vuh." - Paul Simpson, Allmusic
Dot.s is an endeavor to take "dance music" far from where it comfortably rests in its current, popular state. We venture to challenge the status of an art form that began as something primal and turned into something calculated and boring and kinda depressing. Drums, bass, and synthesizers rest in the center of our five-piece arrangement, followed by whatever auxiliary instrumentation feels cozy on top of that. We hope to give you something that is as fun and refreshing as our collective ideology: that sounds can prove-ably change the way people act, and should, thus, be made with obsessive care.

"There might not be a name or genre for what Dot.s are doing with their music, but Jellyfiss seems to do the same thing a Talking Heads album would do: advance dance music to a place that feels more organic, more exciting, and, ultimately, more lasting than most music from the genre. Dot.s create music with a clear personality, which is something not only lacking in dance music, but most music in general." -Sean Zearfoss, Immersive Atlanta

"Press play on "Down Goes the Elephant," the latest, 12-minute opus from electronic pop outfit Dot.s, and a virtual universe unfolds, complete with fugue-like changing parts, and a roller coaster ride of emotional states. The song is a semi-operatic departure that finds the group reaching new highs in both composition and collaborative synergy. The Atlanta Philharmonic warms up the intro, setting the mood and establishing a palette for a colorful and propulsive departure for Dot.s. While there are similarities to the music heard throughout previous efforts Jellyfiss and We Swim, "DGTE" comes together on a grand scale in terms of both concept, arrangements, lyrics, and even its artwork." -Chad Radford, Creative Loafing

"Recorded with Damon Moon at Standard Electric Recorders Co., 'Rose Lens' unfurls in steady waves, each atmospheric pulse and burbling groove striding confidently into the next. Yet, despite its swaggering self-assurance, the track finds the band working in a darker mood than in the past, confronted by the dread of isolation, fallible memories, and the silent voices that keep us awake at night. Still, the vibe here is more meditative than dreary, more coming to terms than a statement of disillusion. Throughout it all, the methodical beat and throbbing ambience thrust inexorably forward, shrouding any thoughts of gloom in a shimmering haze of brooding electropop. Life is still full of wonder, after all, even if it isn’t always pretty." -Guillermo Castro, Immersive Atlanta