Hay un puñado de artistas que escriben y graban música con plantas en mente. Algunos de ellos abordan sus composiciones con frecuencias particulares en mente (supuestamente para ayudar en el crecimiento de las plantas), mientras que otros solo imaginan lo que sus plantas podrían disfrutar.
Morgan Rosskopf has been working with plants for most of her life. She began at 16 and, aside from the years she spent getting her MFA in art, she’s worked with them ever since. “I love plants because they have no ego,” she says. “They have no baggage and live a simple life. They are mostly self-sufficient. I find these qualities deeply inspiring. I want to learn these lessons from the plants as I take care of them.”
If you imagined the sounds of photosynthesis, you might wind up with something similar to the hypnotic synthesizer compositions on Minneapolis-based musician Brendan Wells’s Music For People & Their Plants Volume 1.
The improvised sounds on Play Some Songs to Make the Plants Grow are inspired as much by the natural world as they are a response to it. They’re culled from a three-week road trip in 2015 that found Shlon—then a recent Art Institute of Chicago graduate working with a grant she’d earned from the University—visiting artist-built environments in the American West.
Bert Olke moved from his native Northern Germany to Berlin in 1987 and spent his 20s playing industrial music but growing increasingly enchanted with electronic artists. He found techno in the early ‘90s, and “lived it,” he says, then discovered the ambient house music that was gaining popularity as a calming offshoot of more dance-minded electronic music. “I stayed more and more often in the Ambient Chill Out Rooms, and was musically very inspired there,” he says.
German composer Jan Grünfeld recorded Music For Plants in three days, “on the huge balcony of an old villa in the middle of an English landscape park on the German-Polish border.” He improvised the music as it came to him, using mostly a loop pedal, an electric guitar, and an electronic bow. Bird sounds occasionally flare up in the background, but these songs are actually quite tense and cinematic. Grünfeld hasn’t played this music for humans, he says. “It is only for the patient plants.”
Inspired by Mort Garson and library music pioneer Roger Roger, Belgian composer David Edran writes that he tested his compositions on plants he was growing. “After the codario was already grown quite a bit, I started placing a little speaker next to it and play it gentle electronic sounds. The littlest leaves would start twitching and turning right after these waves of sound would come out of the speaker,” he writes. “As for the mimosa pudica, it was rather obvious from the beginning this was a very sensitive being…” The genuine affection Edren feels for his plant audience is reflected in the album’s songs, which are largely adventurous and playful electronic lullabies.
Source Vibrations is Asa Idoni, a Colorado-based composer, sound engineer, and mystic. Idoni is the prolific musician behind dozens of collections, most of which are in the realm of meditation or sonic healing. According to the Source Vibrations website, “Asa transcribes natural structures like colors, archetypes, and geometries into melodic patterns and harmonies, encoding them into sound.” Vibrational Growth for Plants, which sounds a little like a haunted rainforest to human ears, was created to assist plants with nutrient absorption.
The title may make this album sound like a pretty standard jazz show, but the players here are what make the album really special. That’s Philodendron on lead synths, two Schefflera plants holding down the rhythm section, and a Snake Plant performing the ambient sounds and effects. The idea of four plants’ electrical impulses playing a “live” concert (with the aid of human-computer programmers, of course) makes this two-hour, avant-garde electronic music the reverse of most plant music: It’s the music plants make for humans. It’s also hypnotic and transfixing. The fascinating Data Garden label is often at the forefront of human/plant relations. Case in point: If you plant and water their physical releases, they’ll grow!
-Illustrations by Maria Chimishkyan