I'll try to keep the throat clearing to a minimum, but welcome to a new weekly column from Portland Monthly: Song of the Week! Each Friday from now until the end of time, presumably, we'll call out an especially exciting track from a Portland musician and get to the bottom of what makes it special. Have suggestions? Let us know on social media, or shoot an email to [email protected].
An early disclaimer: the focus will be new tracks, but we're not holding ourselves to a strict diet of music released in a particular week; a cool September release could wind up in an October column.
To kick things off, we've got a wild new cut from rising Portland lo-fi producer Quickly, Quickly, a.k.a. 21-year-old Graham Jonson, off his debut album The Long and Short of It. (As is increasingly the case, "debut album" does not mean what it used to mean—Jonson has been putting out music for five years.)
Album opener "Phases" begins with maracas, earthy percussion, and a verse from poet/songwriter Sharrif Simmons that quickly identifies the titular phases: Earth, life, crystals, pain, loss, love, and revelation. It's trippy but cheerful, and as it marches on, nu-jazz percussion, balmy synths, and a wayward horn enter the mix.
From there, Jonson steps in and takes Simmons's cosmic musings to a smaller scale: "Losing my sense of time / Waiting on a sign / These are my trepidations / My phases." The percussion swells into a kind of controlled chaos, dips out, and returns, before melting away into something altogether dreamier and more contemplative.
Sonic touchpoints range from Flying Lotus to the new Lorde record (not to be that guy), particularly in its opening moments. It's a long journey—nearly six minutes—but one worth taking, leaving you with the clarity of a brisk hike. Check it out below.