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Mort Garson - Mother Earth’s Plantasia

Drift Sunday Classic

Mort Garson - Mother Earth’s Plantasia

Synthesizer odes to Philodendrons, Pothos, Spathiphyllums, Begonias and the Spider Plant.

In 1976, if you were to visit the Mother Earth Plant Boutique in Melrose Avenue, California, alongside your ferns and peace lilys, there was another curious exclusive to be had. Available* as an ancillary product to aid your green fingered endeavours was Mother Earth’s Plantasia, an album of meditations from composer Mort Garson, recorded especially for plants. As the cover testifies, this is “warm earth music for plants…and the people that love them”. Although the scientific proof of how much the plants actually benefited was mostly derided at the time, it was a scene, it was a vibe, and Mort's soundtrack became something of a cult piece alongside Macramé and the Chemex. 

Mort Garson - Mother Earth’s Plantasia

Already an established composer of pop music, Garson’s second wind arrived after discovering Bob Moog's futuristic new Moog Synthesizer at the 1967 AES Convention in Los Angeles. An appreciator of avant-garde arrangements, Garson couldn't resist and purchased his own Moog Synthesizer, one of the first ever made. Mother Earth’s Plantasia is actually recognised still as the first album on the West Coast to be recorded using just the Moog Synthesizer.


Image: Garson’s modular MOOG Synthesizer.

Although not created for human ears - again, It was designed to help your indoor plants thrive and grow - the album is just delicious. A hugely evocative set of compositions that illustrate real craft and imagination. The opening piece - and title track - Plantasia is so grand, bubbling sweetness exploding into strange, proud and otherworld brass-esque vibes, like an overture from something Kubrick would have shot. Throughout there are joyous rhythms, with strutting funk and click pop ballardry. Concerto For Philodendron And Pothos is a mini epic, as is the sweetly-maudlin Rhapsody In Green that follows. Swingin' Spathiphyllums towards the end of the album has such pop glide, it'll soundtrack your Sunday.

Mort Garson - Mother Earth’s Plantasia
Another huge part of the allure is illustrator Marvin Rubin's artwork, a perfect visual identify to the free flowing synth reflections.

Even with its few tiny gestures towards the subdued, there is no bad energy. This is an album of high cosmic spirituality and wondrous imagination. Whether it will categorically improve the quality of your green friends, we can't say, but it will create a good vibe and that ain’t gonna hurt anyone.

No stress. All bless. A treasure.

"It’s hard not to smile at the oddball charm of this strange enterprise." - Pitchfork.

Further Reading

NPR - Music For Plants Is Real (Even If The Science Isn't).
Rolling Stone - Revisiting the Weird World of Seventies Plant Music.
The Guardian - The cult album you should play to your plants.

Drift Sunday Classic

• Limited Green colour vinyl.
• Bizarrely, it was also free if you bought a Simmons mattress from Sears.