By Killian Blount
Plantrae (pronounced: plænt-reɪ) is the name used by Oregon based producer and multi-instrumentalist whose nomen genus is Zak Ælfstān. His folk-tronic classified music is rooted in psychedelic percussion and masterfully played stringed instruments. Zak plays viola live at his shows along with the mandolin, banjo, guitar and various percussion instruments on his tracks as well.
Plantrae songs have a very organic feeling, despite the electronics being at the forefront of his music. This feeling stems from how Zak lives his life. He is producing music on his laptop while living off of the land. If you give his page a like on Facebook, you’ll often find him posting pictures of edible plants, animal skins, environmental activism, and general musings about life on the road. He is a true inspiration for cohabitating better with your fellow man and the earth, and his music is simultaneously soothing and stimulating.
The next run of Plantrae shows have yet to be announced, as he is currently focusing on his next release. However, expect a fun summer of festival dates at transformative festivals. In 2013 alone, he played Sonic Bloom, Enchanted Forest, Firefly, Gratifly, What the Festival, Symbiosis, and more.
His releases thus far have been a few one offs on compilation albums as well as his first EP titled Taproot. “Dance of the Insect Soldiers,” our first featured track, is a fresh release from LostInSound.org’s Winter 2013/2014 Compilation. This release is a “pay what you want” which is raising funds to bring aid to the Phillipines by “empowering people to grow their own food using sustainable practices, and non-GMO, fast growth seeds.”
Our second track, “Insurrection Ecology,” was released last spring on Mycelium Music’s compilation album to raise funds for the Amazon Mycorenewal Project, which was created to “educate volunteers and indigenous people to utilize fungi in an effort to cleanse the pollution caused by the industrial petroleum extraction in Ecuador and elsewhere around the amazon.”
Our third and final featured track, “Anarcho Arachnid,” comes from his debut release, “Taproot,” which spent a fair amount of time at the top of Addictech’s charts eventually ending 2013 as their #4 recording of the year!
Here at Ray John, we’ve watched the Plantrae movement lay the groundwork by seeding its grassroots campaign in soil around the continent, and we hope to continue to watch it grow for years to come.