Watering Flowers

Watering a Flower­, by well renowned Japanese musician Haruomi Hosono is one of the most tasteful albums I have ever listened to as it teaches us about the importance of silence and how minimalism in music can actually be more emotionally provoking than grand orchestras or melodramatic pop music. If anything, music akin to what’s on the Watering a Flower album allows us to think. It allows the listener to feel in a more honest way.

The album’s inception started when MUJI, a retail company for household items, commissioned Hosono to write background music for their stores. Unlike most of Haroumi Hosonos’s work prior to this album (Happy End, a folk-psychedelic rock band inspired by the west coast country scene, YMO, the greatest contribution to electro-pop music, and the percussion driven exotica music of Tin Pan Alley and his solo work), this album exhibits a more minimalist electronic sound accompanied by the lack of percussion or beat. By the title of the album’s own admission, the album serves a light and simple nutrition for flowers and, by extension, the listener.

 The music itself is dreamy and hypnotic — repetitive, but mysterious. The first track, “Talking,” seems to be representative of an in-store conversation during slower hours. Over the course of the piece, the melody blossoms into a more realized phrase almost as if a flower is blooming. The soft beeping of the background acts almost as if it’s a single water droplet nurturing the young plant. The second track, “Growth,” communicates something more insidious during after hours. “Growth” has an auditory atmosphere that is similar to discovery of an entity completely alien; something inexplicable. If “Growth” is a nightshade, then the last track, abruptly named “Muji Original BGM,” is a sea of sunflowers smiling at the crack of dawn. There is a certain sadness and emptiness to this song almost as if the album is saying goodbye, but for future reference, a ‘greetings and salutations’ for another time. 

Watering a Flower is a masterwork, and is a must listen to fans of ambient music, vaporwave, and what I like to call “plant-core” (ambient albums with plant or plant-like themes). This album teaches us the importance of silence (particularly how to utilize it to make musical phrasing more effective) and that it’s okay to take a step back and think. Sometimes it’s the little things that are most emotionally tantalizing. 

5 Album Recommendations Similar to Watering a Flower:

  1. Green – Hiroshi Yoshimura
  2. Plantasia – Mort Garson 
  3. Wet Land – Hiroshi Yoshimura
  4. In the Forest – Takatoshi Naitoh
  5. Pale Bloom – Sarah Davachi

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