“Plant music” is a niche genre that has ties to 1970s West Coast New Age and, thanks to the ongoing houseplant boom and a new generation of composers, is blossoming again today.
“Plantasia” was released in 1976 by electronic music pioneer Mort Garson, a Moog devotee known for his album-length synth compositions like “The Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds” and “Music for Sensuous Lovers.” After connecting with Lynn and Joel Rapp, who ran Mother Earth Plant Boutique on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, the three conceived the idea for this record.
Despite the fact that the record’s subtitle is Warm Earth Music for Plants . . . and the People Who Love Them, “Plantasia,” with its sprightly electronic hums and crescendos, wasn’t really meant for human ears.
According to data from the 2016 National Gardening Report, out of the 6 million or so Americans who started getting into gardening — that includes indoor plants — that year, 5 million fell between the 18-to-34-year-old age bracket.
And within that age bracket are new composers, like Brendan Wells, seeking to make contemporary music for those houseplants.
Wells, a DIY punk musician, had always had an interest in plants, which was actually sparked by “The Secret Life of Plants,” a book that he describes as a “revelation and turning point in [his] life.”