Step into the Garden
REset by PLANT VOX / Helen Anahita Wilson

Last winter, we featured linea naturalis a 45-minute soundscape created from natural bioelectricity readings from plants found in the oncology section of Chelsea Physic Garden in London by award-winning British composer and sound artist Helen Anahita Wilson. The music was specifically intended to help people undergoing cancer treatment find some respite and calm from the jarring, often unsettling sounds of the hospital environment. Helen, who is composer in residence at Chelsea Physic Garden, now follows linea naturalis with REset by PLANT VOX, an album of plant-derived music intended for rest and relaxation, released in April.

Helen Anahita Wilson at the Chelsea Physic Garden

Helen Anahita Wilson at the Chelsea Physic Garden

Returning to Chelsea Physic Garden, this time, the plant signals were collected from adaptogenic plants such as ashwagandha, lemon balm, fennel, valerian, rosemary, and lavender, which have properties that help us cope with stress (and whose constituents are often found in health supplements and calming herbal teas). The collected plant sounds were then translated with Ableton (a digital platform for creating electronic music) using compositional techniques drawn from both Western and Indian classical music.

Helen Anahita Wilson: ‘Neeleshwar’

The result is some 45 minutes of sensuous, absorbing and very beautiful music which, from its opening moments transports the listener into the natural world where the chirrup of birds mingles with shimmering harp glissandi (the melodic fragments are taken from valerian), sounds unfurling gradually in an immersive sonic landscape that both relaxes and revives.

Vivo (radio edit) – from REset by PLANT VOX

Chelsea Physic Garden, London

Chelsea Physic Garden, London

It’s not ambient music per se – there are many intriguing sounds, samples, loops, harmonies, and rhythms so that rather than “zoning out”, one’s ear and attention are constantly pulled into it. Organised in 8 tracks with one-word titles like Vivo (life), Deep Rest, Repose, and Ground, the music on REset is spacious, fluid and consonant, often seemingly improvisatory, always intriguing and engaging. “Maybe I’m the conductor….encouraging certain parts of the orchestra to come to the fore”. And there is a definite orchestral quality to the way Helen’s plant sounds interact and merge. Unfurl, the second track, uses viola and double bass with sounds derived from rosemary, a plant traditionally used to help with mental and physical tiredness, anxiety, and memory.



You might use REset to accompany yoga practice or for meditation, or to unwind from a particularly busy day or a stressful train journey. Or to do as I am now – to simply listen with the window or garden door open, allowing the natural sounds of your own environment to gently meld and contrast with those on this album.

REset by PLANT VOX / Helen Anahita Wilson album cover

“Whilst the project is rooted in both scientific and creative compositional techniques, on a more fundamental level, it’s important to me that the music is enjoyed by people – be that as a tool for meditation and deep listening or just a moment of calm in an otherwise hectic day” – Helen Anahita Wilson

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