I have recently learned about the delightful music streaming service known as Spotify. I know I am late to the hype, but I get it now. My days of mooching off my brother’s Apple Music account are over and I have seen the light. With this new chapter in my life, I have found that Spotify makes it much easier to discover genres and albums that I didn’t even know existed. Enter: plant motif electronic music. This one is for all you cottage core lovers out there.
There are only a few rules for this list: 1) The music has to be electronic, and have no singing. 2) There has to be some sort of plant theme to the song that I include. You’ll find that I sidestep this rule frequently, but who can blame me? I’m just a mere shenaniganizer who doesn’t follow the rules when it comes to reviewing obscure albums revolving around plants and synthesizers.
For your convenience, I have linked the albums below each photo, and here is a link to a playlist that contains all of the songs mentioned within the article: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5DvYG5twQMY95OOprgFMpw?si=tsPqMXTsTzSDDYmZon6BRA
Mother Earth’s Plantasia – Mort Garson
Spotify, linked for your pleasure: https://open.spotify.com/album/4Pj4zPHuEUPtfacdeTlqUG?si=7oFPDHurRw-1cC6C_geHrw
If You Only Listen To One Track, Listen To: Track 8 – You Don’t Have To Walk A Begonia
As fate would have it, I was recommended this album randomly by YouTube, which is what started this whole obsession with music for plants. First released in 1976, this album has become a cult favorite in recent years, and I can see why. Track 1, Plantasia, sets the tone for the rest of the album, ushering in delightfully playful electronic sounds that grow in intensity. It’s nothing short of a plant-themed symphony. Track 8, You Don’t Have To Walk A Begonia, is fun and light, something that is sure to make your plants groove along with you. Track 6, Rhapsody In Green, is nothing short of a masterpiece in my opinion. Track 7, Swingin’ Spathiphyllums, sounds like you’re in an alien jazz club, and who wouldn’t want that? Listening to these songs provides an almost indescribable feeling, and you should honestly listen to the entire album at least 3 times a day. Your plants- and your soul- will thank you for it.
Six Songs For Invisible Gardens – Green-House
Spotify, linked for your pleasure: https://open.spotify.com/album/5ADF8juLhrC8IerOq4G6e5?si=epkjGmVKSe-uV92VXHH_Tg
If You Only Listen To One Track, Listen To: Track 6 – Xylem
This album has the plant motifs down to an absolute T, and I love it. While matching the overall musical and visual aesthetic of the ‘70s albums like Mother Earth’s Plantasia, its clean production very clearly reflects its 2020 release date. This album might be the only good thing to come out of last year. This entire album is very calm and charming as it has “nature sounds” in the background of every track. This subsequently makes each song feel as if you’re in the forest and a stranger has come along and decided that you’re worth it enough for them to sit and bang out some tunes for the both of you. What an exciting event. Track 3, Parlor Palm, also has some delightfully spacey sounds, making it sound like maybe the person who stopped to play you a tune was an alien. Good for you.
Journey Through The Secret Life Of Plants – Stevie Wonder
Spotify, linked for your pleasure: https://open.spotify.com/album/3LSgLZrSXELqWt5eqb6XMY?si=Pv2c1Vi2QrSr8ct-lcwkBA
If You Only Listen To One Track, Listen To: Track 1 – Earth’s Creation
When I stumbled upon this album, I was first confused, thinking that there was some other Stevie Wonder who was doing electronic music, and then surprised when I discovered that it was the Stevie Wonder. Apparently, this album was originally created as the soundtrack for a movie of the same name, though at the time, critics were quite harsh on both the film and the soundtrack. It’s my personal opinion that the critics were very wrong, as this album is fun and combines a multitude of various musical themes throughout. I have to address the obvious, though: there are lyrics in some songs, and not all of it is electronic, but as I said before, I’m just a rebel without a cause. I’ll cut this album some slack because it’s just so fun. Track 1, Earth’s Creation, sticks to the theme we’ve set up in this list well, but songs such as track 8, Power Flower, take you on a funky journey through the plant section of your local farmer’s market. Power Flower also has elements of quintessential Stevie Wonder, with some fun harmonica breaks and piano. Overall, it’s a very fun and charming album.
Trees etc. – naran ratan
Spotify, linked for your pleasure: https://open.spotify.com/album/0Hi7a09Vn6FuPZSsADVfsI?si=Q0Nfe-F6Rs-dvozX06ahww
If You Only Listen To One Track, Listen To: Track 6 – Jam For Bwengo
This album makes me feel a sense of nostalgia that comes from nowhere. Strangely cathartic, I listened to the first track (Forevertime Journeys) and felt like bursting into tears.
Track 4, Vegetable Eater, reminds me of my grandmother if she could play a delightfully funky slow-jam guitar interlude. My personal favorite is track 6, Jam For Bwengo, which mixes a nice late-1960s-early-1970s-esque melody with an exciting electronic flare.
I believe that if my plants were to listen to this, they would 100% grow to be happier and healthier, which is what I have also done since listening to this album.
Penguin Cafe Orchestra
Spotify, linked for your pleasure: https://open.spotify.com/album/2HDowU93etbL5ClDIRAyh8?si=99SrGjZYROWVXS0pjOfxHA
If You Only Listen To One Track, Listen To: Track 8 – Salty Bean Fumble
This is a fun album with (dare I say it) some of the best album art I’ve ever seen. Track 8, Salty Bean Fumble, is a fun accordion-filled smorgasbord of sound that you can dance to with either your significant other, a suspiciously old Czech man who knows how to polka a little too well, or just alone with your plants. Track 4, Cutting Branches For a Temporary Shelter, is just simple enough to calm your senses, but still complex enough to provide you with a sense of wonder. The entire album is mystifying and leaves you with a feeling of contentedness after it’s finished. Though not always sticking to the plant motif theme, some of the other tracks, such as Telephone and Rubber Band, are deeply interesting to listen to and create an ambiance of warmth that you just can’t replicate. The aforementioned track is exactly what it sounds like: telephone sound effects placed over an orchestral arrangement. 10/10.
Jardin Au Fou – Hans-Joachim Roedelius
Spotify, linked for your pleasure: https://open.spotify.com/album/7HZ7EZCstniARXO3CcAMxt?si=sDrlGlQnQPSpzdWBBs94OQ
If You Only Listen To One Track, Listen To: Track 6 – Le Jardin
The French have arrived. But wait! What’s this? Apparently, Hans-Joachim Roedelius is German. Either way, I say “Herzlich Willkommen” to this delightful album (God, I hope that’s the right spelling… I just know that my German ancestors are looking down in anger at me). Track 6, Le Jardin, pairs some nice electronic rhythms with sounds of the great outdoors, as well as some electronic feedback that oddly feels very right for this track. I can’t say that the album cover doesn’t freak me out, however. The cold dead eyes of Hans-Joachim Roedelius are unblinking. Ich habe angst.
Cover Photo: Mercedes Ohlen