Album of the Day: Mort Garson, “Mother Earth’s Plantasia”

Last July, the Los Angeles Times wrote a lengthy story titled “They don’t own homes. They don’t have kids. Why millennials are plant addicts.” Even in the ambient world, modular synth mastermind Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith recently launched a label called Touchtheplants with a release she described as, “a musical recording…about two friends—a plant and a human being—having an existential conversation.”

By that metric, the cult Moog composer Mort Garson was a good 40 years ahead of the curve. Mother Earth’s Plantasia, first released in 1976, promised to deliver “warm earth music for plants… and the people who love them.” The liner notes for the gleaming melodies of “Rhapsody In Green” say it all, really: “Now that we live more and more in a world of concrete and chaos, to come home to a Rhapsody of Green is one of the surest ways to feel like part of the Earth again…. Stake your claim to a richer, fuller, happier life. Remember, all is not gold that glitters. Sometimes it’s Green.”

Garson’s sprightly productions allude to everything from the psychedelic animation of the ’60s and ’70s to the lounge-pop loops and space-age soundtracks of Jean-Jacques Perrey and Air. Whether this will lead to the rediscovery of Garson’s other work—including album-length tributes to zodiac signs, The Wizard of Oz, and Hair—remains to be seen. Either way, there’s no denying the subtle expressionism of pieces like “Symphony For a Spider Plant,” with its gently whistling synth lead and wind chime-like backing electronics, “Swingin’ Spathiphyllums,” which sounds like a Moog soundtrack to a ‘70s primetime drama, and the relatively sedate “Music to Soothe the Savage Snake Plant,” the gentle, twinkling melody of which sounds like a digital music box. Four decades after its initial release, Plantasia is still providing sounds that comfort and calm.

-Andrew Parks

One Comment

  1. Kervin Brungardt
    Posted July 1, 2019 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Let us not forget the album Black Mass by Lucifer by Mort Garson. Quite a trippy experience that I think has held up well over the years.

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