Jake’s Jams: Mother Earth’s Plantasia

Every other Thursday check out Jake’s Jams to see an album from any era, genre, or artist recommended by Jake Standerfer


Ever since the 19th century, there has been a persistent theory holding that playing particularly soothing music helps the growth of plants. This proposed thought surfaced most culturally apparent during the 60s and 70s, through a slew of floral fanatics spawning a movement of dedication to the playing and making of music to and for plants. The notion that soft melodies stimulate plant well-being accumulated in a psychedelic, early-electronic manifestation in 1976, via a work by the synthetic composer Mort Garson: Mother Earth’s Plantasia.

In Plantasia, Mort Garson works with a Moog synthesizer to compose an aesthetic experiment centered around plants and “the people who love them.” The work is composed of levitating production that floats with ease-of-listening. Delightful melodies roll like waves over each other with each new track on the album, and Garson’s composition almost tickles the listener with light electro-symphonic surprises.

The tunes exhibited within the record almost strike a chord of similarity with later 8-bit music composed for video games, but yet, the music remains practically timeless, to the point where to pinpoint a year or even decade of creation for the album without having prior knowledge remains a near impossible task. The spacey bliss of the tracks radiates a gleeful appreciation of botanic beauty stuck in infinity. The composition of Plantasia is not cheeky to the point of stupidity or tastelessness, but rather to the point of timelessness.

Overall, tracks within the album generally follow either a line of enlightening, uplifting progression, such as the title track “Plantasia,” or soothingly silky sound, such as “Concerto For Philodendron & Pothos.” Particularly groovy, the track “Swingin’ Spathiphyllums” bursts in cyclic climaxes, while settling into a simple modular sequence of ups and downs in between. “Symphony for a Spider Plant” holds an inquisitive melody with a suggestively tropical refrain, while “Rhapsody in Green” bubbles in a softly cruising, space-bound lounge.

Garson has a certain knack for composing works exceeding the expected range for synthesizer-composed music. With a limited set of tools at hand, Garson musically MacGyvers the album into a piece of spaciously pleasant spontaneity. Whether Plantasia was actually created entirely with the intention of helping plants grow or not, it certainly makes great people-music as well.


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