NOT TO SOUND too hippie-dippy, but Jackson Boone's debut LP, Starlit, contains suggestions of unseeable energies and cosmic connections. The Portland-born songwriter's musical partnership with Riley Geare—drummer for Unknown Mortal Orchestra—was forged by a seemingly preternatural bond, through which Boone's '60s-swathed compositions have been given room to swirl around like a groovy time-travel trip.
In these thick fogs of layered guitars, hyper-tight rhythms, and blotter-paper harmonies lies one of the best releases to come out of Portland this year. The stars aligned when Boone decided to harness the current Aquarius-age rivulets of energy following a meeting with an astrologer in 2012.
"I feel like there's now a beautiful musical explosion of expression and groovy spiritual music that is rich with peaceful, healing energy," Boone says, noting 2014 shares a star alignment with one between the years 1967 and 1972. "Since that profound meeting, I set out to open up and write as much as possible between 2012 and 2016 to channel the new cosmic energy through the songs."
Starlit was written and recorded following Boone's overcoming of some personal demons with newfound sobriety. As such, the album's trippy catharses grew from something of a healing period.
"You can hear and feel the healing in the music on Starlit," he says. "It's got this chill vibe that's moving toward beauty and away from chaos."
Geare and Boone recorded and produced the record in Geare's home studio, with help from Radiation City's Randy Bemrose on bass and Patti King on strings, among others. Geare also manned the drum kit, pocketing sharp dynamics of pop sensibility in Boone's tranced-out menageries.
Though Starlit's record-release show is happening this week, Boone, Geare, and his newly formed backing band are retreating to the coast the very next day to begin recording a new 10-track LP, already titled Natural Changes. Next summer, the band has planned a six-week US tour and releasing an experimental documentary on the making of Natural Changes.
For Boone, lassoing the momentum and creative wellspring of this current head of steam is paramount. "I'm in a really good place now where I'm surrounded by extremely talented people who are passionate about what's happening," he says. "It's this vehicle of openness to just do the work and evolve in the present. That's really refreshing."