Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through “The Secret Life of Plants”
February 14, 2018
Stevie Wonder, the man known for some of the world’s sweetest and funkiest tracks, is an artist of many talents. Not only is he considered one of the greatest song-writers of all time, he is also heralded as among the most innovative musicians of the modern era. Amidst his seemingly endless discography lies an incredibly complex gem, Journey Through “The Secret Life of Plants”. On February 15th, Nu Deco Ensemble will take their own journey through this very exploration. In anticipation of that, we’ve broken it down for you to ruffle some leaves in excitement.
In 1979 Wonder was tapped to create the soundtrack for the documentary The Secret Life of Plants, directed by Walon Green. This was also based on the book of the same name by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. The team behind the film were dedicated to creating a uniquely visual experience for the documentary and sought for a soundtrack to match. The only thing is, Wonder couldn’t see the visuals.
That’s where the most magical part of the project comes in. Producer Michael Braun described each visual image to Stevie Wonder, while the sound engineer, Gary Olazabal, timed the passages. This information was processed to a four-track tape leaving Wonder space to add his own musical accompaniment. This left Mr. Wonder ample room to explore how to match such an undertaking through sound.
It was here that Stevie Wonder first used unusual synthesizer combinations including the first use of a digital sampling synthesizer, the Computer Music Melodian. This also makes the album the second digitally recorded album of all time. Stevie Wonder was an early adherent of the technology and used it for all his subsequent recordings.
Barrier-breakers themselves, it’s no surprise that Nu Deco Ensemble has chosen this album to explore. Along with a special suite in dedication of George Gershwin as well as a world-premiere collaboration with the GRAMMY-winning Jacob Collier. Don’t sleep on the chance to watch this ground-breaking moment live and grab your tickets.