From its opening sounds—warm, mysterious, unresolved—“A Mirror” lets you know how good it is going to be, and how unusual. This is not a conventional pop song; not only is there no catchy chorus, there doesn’t even appear to be any recognizable verse. What we get instead is a series of motifs—some with lyrics, some instrumental—which do recur, if you’re paying attention, but which need to be listened to a number of times before they begin to coalesce into a meaningful whole.
I suggest giving this song that kind of time. A singer/songwriter from Victoria, BC, himself the son of a singer/songwriter, Knight has the natural touch of a born musician. In lieu of any one instantaneous moment of short-attention-span gratification, “A Mirror” employs its entire almost-five minutes to deliver its ineffable goods. The more I listen, the more individual pieces I grow to love (an early favorite: “I’m alive/I’m alive/I’m right here,” beginning at 0:51), while at the same time acquiring a gradual understanding of the song’s larger arc. I have no idea how a composition like this gets conceived and written, as it’s operating on a much different level than most songs I encounter. And yet also, thankfully, it comes without any avant-garde baggage or contemporary-classical pretenses. Its general musical language is familiar enough, but the joy and the pleasure here come from Knight’s willingness to think beyond the stark restraints of the pop song, and willingness to trust that there may be some listeners willing to take that ride with him.
“A Mirror” is the second of 10 songs on the album Small Reveal, Knight’s second full-length release, coming out later this month on Outside Music. Knight was previously featured on Fingertips at the time of his first album, in 2010. MP3 via Outside Music.