The innovative digital musicians from the Data Garden label are giving fans an alternative to wasteful vinyl EPs, by offering downland codes embedded on seed paper. Digital music in inherently an eco-friendly genre, with artists that have been known to create tracks with laptops, synthesizers, or even upcycled 8-bit video game systems. To put it in perspective, these revolutionaries can tour the country by packing all of their music gear in a suitcase, instead of a tour bus. To bring awareness to the connection between nature, music, and technology, a collective of Data Garden artists held a plantable “record release” party this week at Bartram’s Garden, the country’s longest running botanical garden.
The label founders, musicians Joe Patitucci and Alex Tyson, partnering with web designer Ian Cross, recognize that there is value to having a physical representation of your iTunes library, but that a CD or record would not quite embody the modernity and abstractness that these digital artists exude in their sound. The concept proposes that a flower bed grown from Data Garden seeds could replace stacks of dusty records. Patitucci told Philadelphia’s City Paper “If you have a friend over and they’re like, ‘Whoa, that flower is really cool,’ you can say, ‘Yeah, let’s listen to this album, let me show you what that flower’s about.'”
There is quite a range of plantable chiptunes available on the Data Garden label. Timelapse in Colour is the debut from Philadelphia artists Rays & Prisms, who use an analog synthesizer, tape and electronics, to create music and track titles inspired by the field of photography. Descriptions of the digital sound from this genre is a complete shift from the vernacular used to describe any and all predeceasing music forms. Like the group Cheap Dinosaurs that records “prog-pop cosmic bitscapes.” Another on the label, Tadoma, is the work of Data Garden’s founder Patitucci. In live performances, he pairs a drum machines with looping samples from his self-recorded library of thousands of everyday sounds.
The Switched-On Garden label release event at Bartram’s Garden, was held October 16th in coordination with Design Philadelphia, a week of city-wide creative events. You can get your music garden growing, because plantable music is also now available through the Data Garden website!