A rare album, half classical music and half electronic music, from 1978 released on Tchou livre-disque record (Tchou label), composed by famous library musician Roger Roger (helped by Nino Nardini), illustrating a spoofy essay (by Martin Monestier) about the impact of music on plant growth.
“Roger Roger (5 August 1911 – 12 June 1995) was a French film composer and bandleader. His aliases included Eric Swan and Cecil Leuter, the last being a pseudonym he used for his electronic productions. He was one of the first, with Pierre Henry and Jean-Jacques Perrey, to experiment with the Moog synthesizer; his Pop Electronique album was released in 1969, five years after Bob Moog put his electronic device on the market. Roger died in Paris in 1995. Since his death, renewed interest in light music has seen several CD albums released, both in dedicated albums and in compilations, including music used under the test card by the BBC in the 1970s. ”
He is listed as the composer for two episodes of the Flash Gordon (1954) television series, and for the series’ incidental music”
“Roger Roger gets a lot of love in the world of library and synth music, but rarely do I see this, De la Musique & des Secrets pour enchanter vos Plantes (Music & Secrets to delight your plants), receive its due. It’s a minor masterpiece in a career bursting with excellence. I don’t know the full story behind this one, but it seems clear to me that it was inspired by Garson’s Plantasia, which came out two years earlier. Both suggest playing the record to your plants, which is a pretty niche market even in the late seventies (a little more info can be found here, and while I am not upping DJ No Breakfast’s rip — I have another one that I like a bit more — I did include his booklet scans in the zip, which will likely amuse the French-speaking of you out there).
This record’s only flaw — and this is true of Plantasia as well — is that it is agonizingly brief. It’s comprised of two side-long tracks, which seem to flow in and out of compositions — movements, I guess — seamlessly. The first side, “Effluves”, is all synth, very much in the vein of Garson’s work. I don’t know exactly what equipment is being used here, but it’s definitely dominated by that fat Moogy sound and bubbling textural accenting. In a subtle difference of approach from Garson’s (which is more like an Exotica or easy-listening record in many respects) Roger Roger’s suite has a more magisterial air, with a hint of baroque pomp and a great deal of Debussy’s sense of the moonlit sublime. This whole side is just an agony of ecstasy, it’s so fucking beautiful you’ll just have to burn your house down and transform into a giant orchid on your front lawn.
Side two is “Luxuriance”, a much more symphonic piece with less in the way of synths. At first, it’s significantly less appealing — gnashing orchestral strings giving way to a Vivaldi-esque gaudy garden gadabout — but this shit has its own appeal if you’re generous with it and it soon turns to more sensual fare, in keeping with the title Luxuriance. Synths start popping up, trading notes with a baroque harpsichord. Following that movement is a section with long lines of menacing synths and darkly exotic ethnic coloring in the form of atonal twanging and hand drums. It’s pretty outstanding. Then the whole thing goes out on a kind of overblown movie-music section that’s not too bad, ending in more gnashing strings. Perhaps not as good as side one but just fascinating, and occasionally better than almost anything else.”