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.
Wells grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, and his first real band was a noise-core outfit called Patrick Swayze’s Ghost. He’s performed in punk and hardcore bands over the years, and currently plays bass and sings in the band Uranium Club. “It’s weird to think viola lessons, powerviolence, and The Cars got me to where I am now,” Wells says.
In 2016, Wells took a job as content coordinator at Maximum Rocknroll magazine in San Francisco, but he found it stressful and isolating. He quit after six months. “After that I couldn’t listen to punk music without feeling terrible anxiety, so I thought I’d start listening to classical music.” Wells wound up interested in 20th century minimal composers, discovering Mort Garson’s Plantasia LP, and reading The Secret Life of Plants. His Plant Music project grew from there.
For Wells, plant music has little to do with finding frequencies to aid plant growth—it’s a conceit that allows him to ignore his self-criticisms and indecisiveness. “When I’m recording this stuff on my own at home I’ll look at a plant and ask myself, ‘Is this plant music?’ and base my decisions on that. Maybe it’s more appropriate to say it’s what I would listen to if I were a plant: something simple, minimal, repetitive, calming. A plant works slowly, so I like to keep a leisurely pace, but I like to think a plant does operate in a calculated and intentional way.” Accordingly, Wells’s songs have a loop-induced structure, and their melodies are both meditative and playful.
The final track of Plant Music Vol. 1 consists of 20 minutes of quiet talking from Wells, inspired by Molly Roth’s early ’70s LP, Plant Talk. “The album is entirely spoken word, and the idea is to put it on when you don’t have the time to talk to your plants yourself—whether you’re going to class or ‘making love,’ as Molly Roth suggests.”
-Casey Jarman Bandcamp.com article 2018