27. Theme for a greenhouse
September 27th, 2020

A playlist called Greenhouse
(File under: music, playlists, video games)

Listen: Spotify

Machinarium is a point and click adventure game released in 2009 by Czech developers Amanita. It has dozens of delightful set pieces, but none that live rent free in my memory as much as a section that takes part in a dilapidated greenhouse—largely due to the accompanying soundtrack.

‘The Glasshouse with Butterfly’ by the generously diacritic’d Tomáš Dvořák is a song I’ve been trying to climb inside for over a decade. It’s a richly textured instrumental track rife with static, chimes, piano, treated brass and shimmering synthesisers. Nothing else on Dvořák’s score sounds quite like it. Back when the game was released, I optimistically started a new playlist that opened with ‘The Glasshouse with Butterfly’. I was going to find other songs with the same mood so I could extend my stay among the tropical palms and hothouse vines. I failed spectacularly. Nothing sounded right—too melancholy, too spritely, too many bleeps and bloops.

I wanted songs that sounded like the glasshouses at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, or the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco, like Bruce Dern in Silent Running, or Bogart at the start of The Big Sleep. I wanted songs that reminded me of windows thick with condensation and spindly wrought iron staircases spiralling up through neatly annotated palm trees.

This is the best I can do, for the moment.

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