Black Taffy (Donovan Jones) is a Dallas-based composer and performer whose current focus lies in pairing ambient music with large bass and percussion. The first born son of Pentecostal music ministers, Donovan grew up witnessing the power music has to induce trance and encourage spiritual awakening. Eventually drawing parallels between christianity, voodoo, and the occult, he left the former to immerse himself in the latter. Sometimes performing with only Vibraphone and cassette decks, he frequently employs the use of tape loops and other antiquated mediums to create pillowy worlds of wow and flutter.
With only a handful of releases to his credit, Austin producer/composer 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, and J Dilla, as well as ambient artists like Stars of the Lid and Tim Hecker.
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 then remixed artists such as Ryat and Cuushe and produced tracks 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; guests included rapper Milo and Leaving Records founder Matthewdavid. In 2016, Botany released Deepak Verbera-- a surprising excursion into cosmic music and free jazz that landed on FACT's top 50 albums of the year-- channeling artists such as Alice Coltrane and Popol Vuh.
Christopher Tignor is a composer, violinist, lecturer, and software engineer. His emotionally charged scores and unique focus on live, performance-based electro-acoustic practice has won acclaim within both the classical and experimental communities across 8 LPs on the Western Vinyl and New Albion record labels. He creates the live performance software he uses, shared freely. As a string arranger he was worked with John Congleton, This Will Destroy You, Meshell Ndegeocello, and several other artists at the boundaries of popular music.
As a result of his unique performance technique using tuning forks, Christopher is a sponsored artist of the German tuning fork maker Wittner. Likewise, renown software leader Antares sponsors Christopher for his inventive application of Auto-Tune as a «choral» violin harmonizer.
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