The relationship between electronic music and the natural world is both longstanding and significant. From the oft-overlooked experimentalism of Stevie Wonder’s The Secret Life of Plants, to recent releases from the likes of Seb Wildblood, Jan Schulte and Hidden Spheres, electro-organic hybridity is a well-established musical tradition.
This week, we welcome a re-release of Mort Garson’s biologically-inspired 1976 classic, Mother Earth’s Plantasia. Originally given away with a guide to Indoor Plant Care wedged within its sleeve, Plantasia delightfully captures the adorable and quirky tones of the burgeoning experimental music culture that developed throughout the 1970s. Garson was a pioneer in his use of the Moog synthesizer, introducing the instrument to the West Coast of the US where it would later flourish. He composed film and television scores and was even tasked with the responsibility of soundtracking Apollo’s 1969 moon landings.
Whilst his earlier releases, such as Black Mass under the moniker Lucifer were dark, brooding and mysterious constructs, Garson here conducts a heartwarming one-man electro-symphony of ‘earth music for plants and the people that love them’. The album is a dreamy, brassy and flamboyant assemblage of Moog lines, set to charming titles such as ‘Swingin’ Spathiphyllums’ and ‘You Don’t Have To Walk A Begonia.’ Psychedelic and playful, Plantasia is cited to have inspired countless gaming soundtracks – the gentle, sweeping tones of ‘Concerto for a Philodendron’ for example, strikes a remarkable resemblance to ‘Zelda’s Lullaby’ from Nintendo’s Ocarina of Time. ‘Music to Soothe the Savage Snake Plant,’ on the other hand, evokes the polyphonic hybridity of Japanese gaming/dancefloor legends Shinichiro Yokota and Soichi Terada.
Clocking in at just under 30 minutes, Plantasia is a short yet transformative trip. Each moment feels well-poised and considered, swooping from the grandiose orchestration of ‘Plantasia’ to the amiable swagger of ‘Baby’s Tears Blues’. ‘Ode to an African Violet’ leads its listener on a cosmic, emotive journey, whilst ‘A Mellow Mood for a Maidenhair’ is exactly that, a stoned and blissful drifting through realms of vegetative plant-life.
The importance of Garson’s fantastical soundscapes to today’s electronic music culture is undeniable. A living, breathing slice of musical history, Plantasia is a must-have for committed collectors and purveyors of musical curiosities.
Grab yourself a copy here.