In 1976, composer and songwriter, Mort Garson, self-released Mother Earth’s Plantasia, a mellow electronic album that was very experimental at the time. Garson had been influential in pop music but ended up laying the groundwork for electronic music.
For a long time, copies of Garson’s Plantasia were difficult to get since it was initially only sold at a plant store called Mother Earth on Melrose, or if you ordered a Simmons mattress from Sears, according to NPR. Brooklyn record label Sacred Bones, who have signed trendy artists like Jenny Hval and Amen Dunes, eventually gave it a wider release in 2019.
Garson’s work was the first of several contemporary musical projects focused on plants designed for or inspired by plants. I’m sure people before had been inspired by plants, but Garson kicked off a specific new agey kind of wave, even though Garson’s own family doesn’t think he subscribed to that kind of hippie-dippie mindset. Stevie Wonder put out his own plant tribute a couple of years later called Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants, which is very different than the type of soulful R&B funk that made him famous. It’s still influenced by those things but is just more bizarre and freeform.
People have since taken the whole thing way further, making things like the MIDI sprout which turns plants' electrical impulses into musical notes. Other contemporary artists have made their own plant frequency influenced music. Vice even profiled some.
The plant trend has only grown and now VC backed direct to consumer companies that have huffed so many fumes of the “millennial aesthetic” that they are now confusing it for a business model, are shipping plants direct to peoples’ houses, because there is (potentially) enough demand for it.
Trendy or not, plants are good, and so is plant music. Here’s a couple of plant-based albums I like a lot.