Mort Garson- Plantasia

Plenty has been written about Mort Garson, who passed away not long ago, in 2008. I’m not going to recount his full, creative musical life here, except to remind you that he was the composer of the music for one of the coolest cod-psychedelic LPs ever, “The Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds“. If you don’t have it yet, get it, love it, live it.

“Plantasia” is Mort’s final LP, released in 1976. It was one of a covey of media purporting to connect a plant’s health with the environment around it, a concern that now seems quaint and unique to the era (environmentalist sarcasm). One suspects an exaggerated communion of hippie and houseplant facilitated by something else, something herbal in origin. At any rate, Mort’s credentials are beyond reproach, and the sounds he gets from his synth, echoplex and drum machine are way ahead of their time.

The first example, “Symphony for a Spider Plant” sounds for the world like the melodic cousin of Eno’s “Somber Reptiles”. The second track, “Swingin’ Spathiphyllums”, has an analogue delay breakdown that is phrased exactly like those in Dub reggae. Both have a moody, melancholy feel that evokes pure yet brainless life energy, pulsing up through the dark soil for no goddam reason at all.

symphony for a spider plant mp3

swingin’ spathiphyllums mp3


5 Responses to “Mort Garson- Plantasia”

  1. How awesome is this album, or at the very, superficial least, the album cover? I would love to check this out someday, if possible. As much I love caring for and talking to my houseplants, and as much as I try not to rule anything out, I maintain a skepticism about “The Secret Lives of Plants,” as goes the title of a book I have from the 1970s about the psychic lives of our green friends. I try, but I just can’t seem to go there.
    Nevertheless, my African violet would like an ode and my maidenhair, something mellow for its mood!

    • jonathanghess Says:

      Katie- nice to see you! Skeptical- how polite! Imagine: If plants really responded to verbal attention, then the top-line nurseries would be staffed with gibbering schizophrenics!

      I’ll bring the LP to the next Phyte Club Mixer (do you have a turntable?).

  2. Thanks! I don’t have a turntable, unfortunately. After I sent you that message, I remembered that……I’ll figure something out!

  3. Stumbled across this album after watching Lil Bub and Friendz this afternoon and wondering what the wonderful synth music was, and then stumbled across your blog after further digging. God bless happy accidents

    • jonathanghess Says:

      Cool, glad you stumbled by. I wasn’t even sure the mp3s were still being “hosted”, looks like they are so- great.

      I set a home made video from a recent (2012) trip to New Zealand to “… Spider Plant”- here

      Will look for Little Bub.


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