Mort Garson’s Rhapsody in Green is music recorded for plats. By trial and error he learned what they found must stimulating and sexually arousing. Here is a thrilling sample.
Mort Garson is well known as one of the pioneers of electronic music in the late ’60s; some may have heard of his contributions to quite a few pop hits back in the day, when he wrote and conducted orchestral arrangements for one or another popular artist. During the second half of the 1960s Mort Garson and his sidekicks Paul Beaver and Jacques Wilson, among others, discovered Robert Moog’s synthesizer and made it an integral part of their future-pop music even before Wendy Carlos released her famous and fabulous Switched-On Bach album in 1968.
Garson recorded and released Mother Earth’s Plantasia a few years after his albums The Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds (1967), The Wozard of Iz: An Electronic Odyssey (1968), and Lucifer: Black Mass (1971). Every fan of unique psychedelic (The Zodiac) and mind-bending electronic music (the two others) should certainly lend an ear to these three masterpieces, but there was more to come. Plantasia, originally released in 1976 and not reissued since until now, is subtitled “warm earth music for plants… and the people who love them.”
As you can imagine, it’s a rather bright affair, far from the dark and seething atmosphere of the earlier electronic pieces. A shining diversity of stylistic devices creates dreamy and colorful compositions, warm yet haunting, with a rather sinister vibe in their most playful and surreal moments. It’s a feeling that, despite the apparent peace and relaxation, something utterly dire is about to rise up. Still, these are only a few passages, and when Mort Garson and his mates move on from lush orchestral soul arrangements to more tribal sounds, you will drift with them from one scene of your inner mind-movie to the next.
The technical options had improved since the late ’60s, and the album features electronic percussion that conjures up memories of records by German electronic pioneers from the same era such as Cluster, Kraftwerk, and Tangerine Dream. And despite the twinkle-toed harmonies and big arrangements that point at the big band music and orchestral pop from which Mort Garson originated, the whole work is futuristic and intriguing. Rather like an old science fiction movie than a horror film, though its identity is open to interpretation. The best way to enjoy this masterpiece of synthesizer music is to lay back and close your eyes while drifting away into a territory still unknown to man.