Electronic musician Mort Garson with a modular synthesizer

As an extension of my last article, I will be delving into the world of what I creatively call “plantcore,” a musical aesthetic that has angiosperm-like themes. Oftentimes plantcore can be characterized as simplistic and whimsical, yet insightful; a feeling that can be equated to walking through a plant nursery or lurking through the brush of a coniferous forest. The burgeoning green aesthetic, however, may be an expression that has wider implications.

While listening to Mort Garon’s Plantasia or Ken Muramatsu’s Green Thoughts, the listener might get a slight sense of ease, maybe even euphoria. Silence is a crucial tool in the production of music that falls under plantcore. The silence allows for the notes to permeate through the listener’s subconscious and emphasizes each note with greater importance and emotion.

The beauty of this is that, in a metaphorical sense, it’s almost like a non-verbal commentary of life, or more specifically, plants in domestication. In large cities, we take for granted the natural world around us. The non-human world is almost alien to most of us and when we see these “aliens” being grown in pots and metal enclosures in sporadic places, it, at times, can catch our attention. We acknowledge its existence and we must respect its being. Plantcore seeks to replicate this feeling through the music that characterizes it. 

We can find ourselves creating artistic responses to our ever-rapidly changing environment. I refrain from saying evolved because have we really? With growing concerns regarding the state of the environment and the oppressive structures of inner cities, it’s expected for the pendulum to swing the other way with people wanting something more natural, something more real (or at the very least a simulation). Plantcore provides us with something that we can find in music that is representative of a materialist world, it provides us with a longing to a return or even a hope for a future where we respect something bigger than humanity. 

Here are 10 songs to check out that I personally define as plantcore: 

1. Motohiko Hamase – Notes of Forestry

2. Hiroshi Yoshimura – SHEEP

3. Mort Garson – Swingin’ Spathiphyllums

4. Haruomi Hosono – Muji Original BGM

5. Roger Eno – Spring Frost

6. Project Green – Water Dance And Sun

7. Bruton Music – The Cornfield

8. Isato Nakagawa – Tree Circle

9. MKWAJU Ensemble – Wood Dance

10. Takashi Kokubo – Dawn of the Forest

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