A Very Special Care Booklet: Mort Garson’s ‘Mother Earth’s Plantasia’

Is your spice rack alphabetized?
By    May 13, 2015

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Torii MacAdams is an industry plant.

We don’t lack for music about plants–it’s just usually about the more psychoactive variety. What we don’t have an abundance of is music for plants, and Mort Garson’s 1976 album Mother Earth’s Plantasia sought to correct that. Garson was a Juilliard-trained pianist, who, after serving in World War II, had a fruitful career writing, arranging, and composing pop songs. The early 60’s brought a string of hits for Garson, including the platinum selling “Our Day Will Come,” by Ruby & The Romantics, and “Guantanamera” by The Sandpipers. Then, the late 60’s happened.

The Moog synthesizer became commercially available in 1967, and so followed an outpouring of synthesized music, for which Garson part of the vanguard. Garson’s output in the late 60’s and early-mid 70’s was made for rooms where the feng shui is centered on bong placement. Garson’s peak included the hippie satire The Wozard of Iz, the insane proto-techno Black Mass (under the name Lucifer), the disco-leaning The Unexplained (under another pseudonym, Ataraxia), and his 12-album magnum opus Zodiac series. Near the end of this run of albums came Plantasia.

Plantasia is, according to the album cover, “warm earth music for plants…and the people who love them.” While it’s probably impossible to judge how much your rhododendrons enjoy Garson’s compositions, the effect on humans is more easily assessed. Garson’s playfulness, twisted lounge sound, and titles like “You Don’t Have To Walk A Begonia,” “Music To Soothe The Savage Snake Plant,” and “Symphony For A Spider Plant,” impart in plants a sense of humor and mystery. Plantasia’s long, almost theremin-sounding synth lines are rich for sampling; DJ Shadow sampled Garson on Endtroducing…, and it’s easy to imagine any number of recombinant possibilities on Plantasia. To add to the strangeness of Plantasia, copies of the album were reportedly given away with Simmons mattresses sold at Sears in 1976, packaged with extensive plant care instructions. Whether you’re growing plants, or just smoking them, Plantasia is invariably the right soundtrack.


Download link:

Mother Earth’s Plantasia


 

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