For some time, Aidan Knight was known as a helpful backing musician, playing everything from pop-rock bass lines to violent, pounding hardcore drums. All the while, he was writing songs of his own, recording in intensive three day bursts whenever he was able to raise enough money. Sleeping on the studio floor at Jonathan Anderson’s Langley studio, Buena Vista Audio, Knight immersed himself in the project, waking up to play most of the instruments himself. With the arrangements in place, he invited Toronto’s The O’ Darling to fill in the additional drums, guitars, girl harmonies, strings and horns.
The result of these collaborations is Versicolour, an intimate eight-song collection of haunted chamber folk and moody acoustic pop. Opening track “The Sun” begins with a pulsing, ticking drum loop and baroque piano chords, gradually swelling to a string-laden climax with a dense chorus of harmony, cascading drum fills, and a meditative repetition of the title. “Knitting Something Nice for You” starts as a sparse acoustic waltz, Knight’s fingers audibly scraping up and down the fretboard; the mood changes completely halfway through, with a hypnotic keyboard groove taking over while guitar feedback squalls somewhere in the distance.
Even more striking than the arrangements is the songwriting, which is deeply personal yet universally relatable. “Fighting Against Your Lungs,” ironically written just a few months before Knight suffered a collapsed lung, is a hushed love song set on top of classic horns and fingerpicked guitar. It’s lyric, “I met you on the border cross/And gave up kisses like a winter’s frost”, a wishful thought between two people separated by the prairies. “Jasper” is humanistic and spiritual in equal measures, describing a summer afternoon spent near the Athabasca River. Over a joyous backdrop of banjo chords and steel guitar leads, the song’s group-sung chorus sets a communal atmosphere for Knight’s life-affirming lyrics. It’s a timeless anthem - no small feat for any songwriter, let alone a first-time artist. With a talent like this, it’s clear that it was only ever a matter of time before Knight rose above his supporting role and struck out on his own.
Versicolour was released in 2010.
Edited by KeithJones on 2 Feb 2012, 21:45
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