We aren’t talking about the rustling of the trees when a gust of wind hits the coast, plants shedding dead branches and leaves, or the sound of rain brushing on leaves in a tropical forest. For the first time ever, Indian company Dabur’s hair care brand Vatika launched a new initiative called #NotesByNature, where they’ve released the world’s first music album made by… wait for it.. PLANTS!
Plants.. How? What happens when technology and nature can be combined to create something? Let’s get to it! Music composer and producer Sharukh Makani was contacted by agency ^ a t o m Network‘s National Creative heads Yash Kulshrestha and Ananda Sen, who were creating a unique campaign for Vatika UAE. Along with co-composer and friend Mehar Chumble, they collaborated with a Mumbai-based plant nursery to provide the plants for this project, namely cactus, almond, lemon, coconut and olive.
Yash gave Sharukh a device that would, in simple terms, convert the pulse from plants into music and midi notes. It took Sharukh and Mehar a few weeks of mixing and matching to find the best way to record or track each plant. From finding the right recording techniques to actually tracking, different methods were used for each plant. Sharukh mentioned how the sound the plants dispensed would change according to the mood of the plant at that given time. The process of tracking would involve recording a plant for a few minutes, and then extracting the best sections melodically. This would mean sometimes even isolating certain sections of a recording in a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) to bring the best music produced by the plant to life.
Watering the plant actually worked to change a plant’s mood sometimes, and variations could be brought about even more by exposing the plant to sunlight, or even recording in a dark room at night sometimes. This process would be repeated until they got a satisfactory result from it all. Working with a plant was also a very organic experience because plants don’t play on metronomes or understand tempo. It often left both composers finding the right section in the track that was most coherent, and sticking with that. It took roughly six months to bring Notes By Nature to life, and the album was launched on 27th March 2021. The album is live on several popular music streaming sites including Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, SoundCloud etc.
What’s more? For every 1,000 plays the album gets, Vatika will plant a tree! Sharukh added, “It’s such a beautiful feeling to listen to music made by actual plants, and as composers, we’re so glad and fortunate to have been part of this project.”
The music can be quite soothing when you’re exercising, relaxing or meditating. It stays in the ambient or background music space. Listen to the five tracks that make Notes By Nature – Hudu, Bliss, Aman, Serenity and Nirvana.
Data gathered through Vatika’s press release on Campaign India, and information from co-composer Sharukh Makani.