If you aren’t familiar with Mort Garson’s 1976 album, Mother Earth’s Plantasia, you’re likely wondering why this is the first vinyl offered in the QooA shop. If you ARE familiar with the 1976 masterpiece oddity, then it should make total sense.
Garson’s Plantasia has been, over the years, sort of a sought-after curiosity, not only for the way in which it was recorded and distributed, but also for the fact that it is a really, really good record that went mostly unheard for the first four decades of it’s existence.
Plantasia is a concept album, self-produced in Garson’s Laurel Canyon home (completely on a Moog modular) with a very specific target audience: plants. As the logline, “Warm earth music for plants and the people who love them” indicates, this music is intended to nurture our flora friends. And when it was released in 1976, the idea that human music and/or positive vibes have a direct impact on plant health was a sort of revolutionary one: as old as time but either new or forgotten in most of the western world.
Garson was a successful songwriter and arranger, working both in pop music (with at least one Billboard #1 under his belt) and in soundtracks, but Plantasia was a personal project. He self-released the record, pressed a limited run and sold it only at Mother Earth plant shop on Melrose, which was, incidentally, owned by another plant-loving couple from the music industry. Legend has it the album was also distributed as a free giveaway with every Sears mattress. Order a new mattress, get a record to help the plants in your room grow…that is some 70’s shit, man. And the odd distribution of Plantasia is exactly why it is such a rarity. If you heard it before 2019, it was probably because someone had a bootleg, or you worked in a record store and knew a lot of collectors, or maybe heard it on a Doctor Demento episode at some point.
Aside: another novel aspect of Plantasia was its reliance on the Moog. We should probably write a post about Bob Moog here, but the short version is as follows: The Moog was the first commercial analog synthesizer. It was invented by Robert Moog in 1964 and hit the market in 1965. As a complete modular workstation, it allowed composers like Garson to arrange entire pieces using one tool and, in the context of popular music, it changed everything forever.
As is the case with many early electronic albums, the tools definitely define the sound of Plantasia. Immediately identifiable, both in arrangement and melodic choices, as a relic from a very specific era, Plantasia is an essential Moog album. It freezes time without dating itself. It still sparkles.
Mort Garson in Laurel Canyon via Wikipedia
Enter: Sacred Bones Records.
In 2019, boutique Brooklyn label, Sacred Bones re-released Mother Earth’s Plantasia on vinyl and made it available on streaming services. They have pressed several runs on black vinyl and in shades of green. The copies all come with a seed card so that you can test the effects of Plantasia on your green babies and, to our knowledge, they all sell out very fast. We found a new copy on green vinyl for the SHOP, and it looks like there is a new two-LP edition, as well as an 8 track coming out via Sacred Bones. We’ll update this post when they arrive.
I guess that explains, in a roundabout way, why this is the first vinyl we carry. If home is the new destination, comfort is the new luxury, and nurturing is the new indulgence, then an album for plants is totally QooA style.
Good luck with your plants. Remember, they need vitamins, water, sun, love and some tunes every day.