Mort Garson’s road to cool cultural caché and the sublimity of Plantasia meant a decades’ long journey through an underworld of sophisticated, international, string-laced dreck (i.e., your great-grandparents’ record collection) to arrive at Music from Patch Cord Productions, this set of queasy-listening you now hold.
Music from Patch Cord Productions shows that Garson’s knack was to exist in both worlds, super-commercial and waaay out. He cut delirious minute-long blasts for commercials (as to whether or not they were actually ever aired remains unknown) and spacecraft-hovering études. Were there really account managers out there in the early ’70s that gave the greenlight to these commercial compositions which seemed to anticipate everyone from John Carpenter to Suicide? What were these campaigns actually for, Soylent Green? Regardless, Mort’s jingle work laid the groundwork for the future. As Robert Moog himself noted: “The jingles were important because they domesticated the sound.” Via Garson’s wizardry, the synthesizer transcended novelty to ubiquity and dominance.
Other curios and questions abound. How did Garson’s arrangement work for Arthur Prysock’s satiny body worship album This Is My Beloved transmogrify into the body-snatcher pulses of “This is My Beloved”? Are the two pieces even related? What is the IATA code for the airport of “Realizations of an Aeropolis”? What denomination is the “Cathedral of Pleasure”? If “Son of Blob” sounds like a hallucinatory melted ice cream truck theme, what on earth does Blob’s father sound like? Every sound wrangled out of that Moog by Garson pushes things further and further out.
Of course, these are all questions that may never get answers, as Garson wasn’t the most organized modern day composer, busy as he was conjuring strange new realms with his circuit boards and synths. He worked and wrote right up until his death in 2008, his daughter and Sacred Bones still going through all of the material left behind. He wouldn’t live to see it, but his renaissance was just around the corner, the seeds that had been scattered in record bins around the world suddenly coming to bear fruit. Take a bite!