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Mort Garson - Mother Earth's Plantasia CD (album) cover


Mort Garson

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3 stars Mort Garson does a 180 from the eerie Ataraxia, since this time he does a Plant Moog album, an album for plants, music that's supposed to be soothing for plants, so don't expect Ataraxia or Lucifer. In fact the music, for the most part borders on proto-New Age, and for my tastes, it's not always to my liking. The album does best when steering away from the early New Age template, to be honest it still sounds like Mort Garson we all know and love. Unlike his major label albums, Mother Earth's Plantasia was only available at furniture outlets (in Southern California, apparently) when you purchase a Simmons Mattress. I can't imagine too many Simmons buyers playing it, I'm sure many of them had fairly mainstream music tastes who likely had a few Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon, Eagles and James Taylor records in their collection at the time, with electronic music a bit out of their league. Regardless, not my favorite from him, but still worth having if you enjoyed his other electronic stuff. This appears to be Mort Garson's last exploration into electronic music, by 1976 his style was becoming outdated (Jean Michel Jarre was just appearing with the release of Oxygene that December that changed the world of electronic music, one of more mainstream acceptance). I don't know if this album will calm plants, but I'm sure it may calm many listeners.
Report this review (#1632861)
Posted Monday, October 17, 2016 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
4 stars Now here's a bizarre little artifact of recorded music that seems to have an equally weird reputation that matches it's unorthodox content. MORT GARSON was one of the unsung heroes of early electronic music. After graduating from the Juilliard School of music in the 60s, he quickly discovered the Moog synthesizer and after years of crafting pop hits for the likes of Doris Day and Mel Tormé amongst others, he found his own niche similar to Walter Carlos in the world of electronic music and in his case the newly perfected Moog synthesizer of the era. While spending the 60s crafting hippie inspired electronic albums that covered every sign of the zodiac as well as cover tunes from the musical "Hair," GARSON also was responsible for countless commercial jingles as well as the soundtrack for the 1969 Apollo Moon Landing.

The 70s found his Moog synthesizer career branching out into completely different directions with 1971 finding his Lucifer alter ego cranking out the creepy "Black Mass," however one of his strangest and most unique creations has to be the 1976 album MOTHER'S EARTH PLANTASIA album which was designed to be played for plants! Yes, this album all about plants was created specifically to help plants grow and become more harmonious with their environment. The album was allegedly sold at mattress stores as well as being distributed as a freebie with the purchase of plant food, however i'm not convinced that these claims are accurate and it would hardly be a viable method for exclusive distribution, however a gimmick that sounds utterly brilliant if it was so the case.

Unlike albums like "Black Mass" that were designed to be creepy and utterly psychedelic, MOTHER EARTH'S PLANTASIA exudes a pacifying warmth that displays GARSON once again as a one-man Moog orchestra with ten tracks that celebrate the magnanimous nature of the plant kingdom. With such titles as "Symphony For A Spider Plant," "Ode To An African Violet" and "Music To Soothe The Savage Snake Plant," one simply becomes mesmerized by the subtle quirky synthesizer sounds that slink and slide into light hearted compositions that turned out to be quite influential for video game soundtrack music. "Concerto For A Philodendron" was a major blueprint for "Zelda's Lullaby" whereas the tones and timbres that coalesce into bloops and bleeps were fertile pickings for the 8-bit Nintendo video games that emerged the following decade. I can't place it but "You Don't Have To Walk A Begonia" has a distinct bass line that permeates the early soundtrack world of video games.

MOTHER EARTH'S PLANTASIA is another short album which clocks in at under 30 minutes, a formula that GARSON seemed to be most comfortable with. The tracks are short and straight to the point and as expected with such subject matter exude a rather childish innocence that offered the perfect template for secondary attention span music such as video game soundtracks. Anyone familiar with GARSON's style will find that MOTHER EARTH'S PLANTASIA very much continues the interesting layering of synthesized sounds that conspire to create vivacious counterpoints, electro-beats and various timbres however this album is all about gentleness and flows along in a nonchalant pastoral manner that fits in with the idea of nurturing fragile beings into complete happiness. Dated yes, but a pleasant sort of album that could only exist in a particular era.

While GARSON started out sounding much like what bands like Tangerine Dream and Goblin would eventually become famous for, he never stood still for too long and with MOTHER EARTH'S PLANTASIA he created a little slice of musical reality that had never been attempted before. As far as i'm aware no one had constructed music for and about plants with the idea of playing the music to them so that they could find perfect plant happiness! How's that for true hippie idealism! While not as far out as some of his strangest albums in terms of musical freakery, this one is probably one of the most unique of his entire career and despite never really taking off in its own right didn't go unnoticed as Stevie Wonder followed up his magnum opus "Songs In The Key Of Life" with a suspiciously similar concept album called "Stevie Wonder's Journey Through The Secret Life Of Plants" which too was a progressive electronic new age journey a mere three years after the release of GARSON's tribute to plants.

Report this review (#2087161)
Posted Saturday, December 15, 2018 | Review Permalink

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