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Mother Earth’s Plantasia: An Album Recorded For Plants

First released in 1976, Mort Garson’s instrumental album, which carries the subtitle “warm earth music for plants…and the people who love them”, is one of the cult classics that record collectors and music geeks find indispensable. In the years the album was released, it was only given as a gift along with the plants bought at the Mother Earth plant shop in Los Angeles, so it took a long time for the album to gain visibility. It can be argued that Mort Garson, whose main goal was the happy and rapid growth of plants, got heavily influenced by the hippie movement. One of the biggest sources of inspiration for the artist was the book “The Secret Life of Plants” published in 1973.

The half-hour album, consisting of 10 tracks, consists of the combinations of melodies Mort Garson created with a special kind of synthesizer called The Moog. This album, which is very different and separate from the synth sound and usage you know of, is one of the works that I strongly recommend you to listen to from start to finish, track-by-track. 

The album begins with the track that gives its name to the album, “Plantasia“. Although some parts of the piece reminds most people of the old alien movie soundtracks, it has calm, relaxing and unique features and note combinations. The parts where the piece becomes “more” in every way with layered sounds, take the listener to different realms. 

The second track “Symphony for a Spider Plant” resembles a nostalgic, mysterious, pixelated soundtrack of a video game that you can’t stop playing if you ever cross the threshold of the starting point.

The next track is called “Baby’s Tears Blues“. This melody, which you can notice the jazz base notes, is perfect as a background music for reading detective novels. 

The fourth track on the album, “Ode to an African Violet,” has a darker, yet hopeful tone. What this song makes me envision in my mind is a scenario rather than a feeling: a germinated seed trying to find its way to the surface.

The next piece, “Concerto for Philodendron & Pothos” is also named after plants. I think Mort Garson shows that he fully believed that the plants had a mysterious life, just as it was written in the book he was inspired by, with this piece. This track, which evokes the idea that there are phenomena that we cannot perceive as humans, is a piece I would recommend everyone to listen to.

Rhapsody in Green”, which has a beautiful transition when listened to back to back with the previous track, is a piece that I come back to and listen to often from this album. This three-and-a-half-minute piece has melodies where you can experience a lot of emotions at the same time, from the beginning to the end.

Swingin’ Spathiphyllums” is one of the heart-warming songs in the album that can keep you company on unpleasant  days. Octaves that go up and down and the tonal fluctuations make this piece energetic and fun. Although it is suitable for quiet days as well, it can also cause you to get up and dance.

You Don’t Have to Walk a Begonia” has a melody that repeats itself often, resembling a rhythm of walking, but musical additions have been made to make the piece interesting.

A Mellow Mood for Maidenhair” has a more melancholic undertone than the other tracks, but as the name of the piece says, this feeling is presented in a rather soft way.

The last track of the album, “Music to Soothe the Savage Snake Plant” is a song that I would recommend you to close your eyes and dream while listening. I think this track, which made me feel emotions that cannot quite be expressed using words, is the right choice to close the album.

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Author: İpek Bircaner

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