LA-based visual artist and music-maker Gabriel Brenner (aka Pastel) is back at it again with “The Mirror,” the first single from his upcoming four-track Bone-Weary EP. If one thing can be said of “The Mirror,” it’s that this is an unorthodox choice for a single; listeners will have to be patient to allow the ocean flow to truly envelop them. But I know that you’re attentive, dear reader, so prepare to get hyped for this new EP with a brand new slice of soulful soundscape.
After listening through a few times, my enduring impression of “The Mirror” is its tenderness, which is somehow an unsatisfying word to me because the lyrics are so self-centered while “tenderness” implies an object or affection. Then again, as any student of existentialism knows, the self is also constantly in a relationship with itself; self-love is a constant habit-forming effort, so I guess I can reconcile my word-hesitation with the notion that Brenner is being tender with himself here. The chorus lyric (or, alternately, repeated mantra) seems to back up my analysis here:
In addition to being somewhat less immediately hook-filled than your average single (it begins with around a minute of vocal introduction with minimal pads), “The Mirror” also has a wonderfully unhurried cadence that seems like a pattern in Brenner’s work. If there was ever a guy who was open to nearly six-minute singles at low BPM with plenty of vocal harmonies, it was probably me. This music belongs in the same record store box as Nicholas Nicholas and Julianna Barwick – it’s hymnal, it’s lyrically compelling, it’s soothing, and it makes no compromises in how it presents itself. Needless to say, I am a fan, and I eagerly anticipate the full EP.