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Led by erstwhile Firewater co-conspirator and international piano man Paul Wallfisch, Botanica is a band named for those mysterious stores stocking spells, potions and artifacts of ritual. Botanica makes punk rock chamber music for the 21st century. Paul’s gypsy past has taken him to 40 countries, including performances of various sorts in in China, Finland, Indonesia and Guinea–where he became an overnight sensation lipsynching on the only TV show in the land. Past lives saw collaboration with Love & Rockets, Congo Norvell, Stiv Bators, Syl Sylvain, Stan Ridgeway and a parade of French people as diverse as Anne Pigalle and Johnny Hallyday.
Bridging the gap between Secret Machines and The Dresden Dolls, Botanica produces dark, gritty, epic, acid, sexy music that is neither blind to politics nor ignorant of romance. Called the sonic equivalent of an Aki Kaurismaki film by Intro Magazine (Germany), Botanica’s music was also recently described in the New Yorker as “…trafficing in sonic noir with an undercurrent of sinewy menace…sinister sophisticates providing the perfect soundtrack to the after-hours, urban experience.”
For Malediction, (Checkered Past Records), Botanica’s first album, front-creature Wallfisch joined forces with legendary bass goddess Abby Travis (Beck, KMFDM), and Ivan Knight (Friends of Dean Martinez,). The illustrious guests included Daniel Ash (Bauhaus, Love & Rockets), Frankie Infante (Blondie), and Kid Congo Powers (Nick Cave, Cramps). “Grandeur, sweep, romance & edge”, wrote the Boston Globe. “Dark & angry fun”, added The Big Takeover. “Tabloid narratives about dysfunction dementia and doom…lush beauty you can sink your teeth into,” from The L.A. Weekly. Botanica toured nationaly from 1999-2002, including support dates with 16 Horsepower, Super Furry Animals and Rocket From the Crypt.
With All Seven Fingers (Subway Records/Alive), the band’s second album, was released across Europe to rave reviews in October 2002. Recorded on tour in Chicago and in Brooklyn at both Martin Bisi’s legendary cave and Tamir Muskat’s (Balkan Beat Box, Big Lazy) Vibramonk. With All Seven Fingers picked up where Malediction left off, casting its spell through twelve magic tracks of sultry grooves, leering waltzes, fragile beauty and flat-out rock ‘n roll. The opening track, “Complicated Life”, boasts a little conversation between Al Sharpton and superstar of the future Roman “baby doc” Casper. Kid Congo takes a star turn as the Barry White of indie rock on the spellbinding “Power.”
John Andrews, (Page Hamilton, Frankenorange), joined the band as touring guitarist and following the life-changing epiphanies of Greifswald, Germany and other previously unvisited European metropolises, he never left. He is joined by mini-golf champion and master chef Christian Bongers, (Loudspeaker, Michael Gordon), moonlighting on bass, and drummer, glockenspieler and castanets virtuoso extraordinaire Keith Crupi, who lists as his influences Kiss & Ute Lemper, and whose recent work includes the pope gig at Giant's Stadium, Ringling Brothers' Circus at Madison Square Garden, and a command performance on vibraphone for the Kidney Dialysis Center.
Planning insurrections from their current home in New York, Botanica has toured Europe four times in the last 2 years, performing to sold-out theatres in five countries supporting 16 Horsepower. The L.A. Weekly wrote that Botanica “should be inducted into the underrated hall of fame.” Positivirages (France), wrote of the “…incomparable songwriting, Botanica delivers a veritable masterpiece reminiscent of the best of Nick Cave and Tom Waits. Visions (Germany), gave the album 9 out of 10 stars and With All Seven Fingers was in the top ten on their critics’ list. Botanica contributed the track “Broken Bicycles” to the Tom Waits tribute album New Coat of Paint released on Manifesto Records and also featuring Screaming Jay Hawkins, Carla Bozulich, Lydia Lunch and Sally Norvell accompanied by Paul at the ivories.
Botanica’s music has been used in several films including “Men Cry Bullets” (Phaedra), and The Takedown (Dimension/Miramax). Botanica, (with ex-Jesus Lizard David Sims), is featured in Greg Pritiken’s film “Dummy” (Artisan Entertainment), starring Adrien Brody and Milla Jovovich. Paul also scored the film. (Soundtrack on Jellybean/SONY)
Summer 2003 found the band touring France for the first time and returning to Germany to begin recording their third album Botanica vs. the Truth Fish, a vivid collection of sexy, swampy political mayhem that puts Botanica in a class by itself. The album was finished at Pete Min’s Fallout Shelter in Brooklyn and Paul’s basement in Harlem and features cameos from guitarist Oren Kaplan (Gogol Bordello, Firewater) and the Meredith Yayanos string trio (Walkmen, Wilco). Following a recent Tonic show, the Trifecta Newsletter wrote: “Botanica might be the best band in Manhattan right now: eerie, reverb guitar, macabre piano, powerful vocals, intense lyrics and a riveting, uncompromising live show.”
B. vs. the T.F. was released on Rent A Dog/Alive (Germany) in Feb. ’05. In April, among TV and radio appearances in several countries, the band taped a full concert for the legendary Rockpalast show on Germany’s WDR. A documentary on Botanica for the French-German network Arte is in the works. 3/4 of Botanica hsas recently been seen and heard as the backing band to Scottland's finest voice, Miss Angela McCluskey. But rumor has it they'll all be fired soon.
While Continuing their long-time collaboration with producer-engineer-guitarist Pete Min, 1/2 of the new album "Berlin Hi-Fi" was recorded in the German capital with the hardest working man in Deutschland, Moses Schneider and his asshole free posse.
The results will be released on May 5, 2006, along with a single/ep "Botanica Lifting Over Berlin." The band will be touring Europe through the Summer.
The new Album "The Magnetic Waltz" is available since May 11th, 2007.
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