|Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith||The Kid|
|Western Vinyl||October 6, 2017|
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith — The Kid (October 6, 2017) ¬¬• Její melodie sdílí dvorní poezii anglického folksongu a psychedelickou naivitu Animal Collective. Stopy alba Beauty (1989) od Ryuich Sakamota nejsou určující, spíše jemně, takřka na miskách vah vyvažována vokální složka ruku v ruce s elektronickými zvuky. Důležité jsou intervaly a pocit volnosti, který cítím u každé kompozice. To Feel Your Best je dobrým příkladem. Analogue psychedelia with some growing up to do.
¬¬• Composer of bright, fluid soundscapes using a variety of synthesizers, with a preference for the Buchla Music Easel. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s formative years were spent communing with nature on Orcas Island in the northwest region of Washington state, a place she describes as “one of the most magical and peaceful places I have ever been.”
¬¬• In 2015 Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith released her first widely distributed full~length album, Euclid. Little more than a year later Smith returned with her wonderstruck psychedelic breakthrough EARS to universal praise in the spring of 2016. Pitchfork called EARS “rich and rewarding,” and included EARS in their list of the top twenty experimental albums of the year, while other outlets including NPR, SPIN, and Rolling Stone sung similar best~of~the~year praises. In addition to releasing EARS in 2016, Smith toured with fellow sonic~adventurists Animal Collective, and soundtracked Google’s incredible virtual tour series The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks. This year sees the welcomed continuation of Smith’s output, The Kid, an album that climbs to the peaks of its forerunner and astonishingly continues upward. The Kid aurally maps the emotional realities and spiritual epiphanies of a lifeform through its infancy, societal assimilation, and eventual self~remembrance, conjuring each phase with psychoacoustic eloquence. On her newest LP Smith challenges her listeners to entertain new paradigms of listenership by drawing our attention to multiple elements simultaneously, as if — in her words — “listening to two conversations at once.” Location: Los Angeles, CA, U.S.
Genre: Electronic, Female Vocal
Album release: October 6, 2017
Number of Discs: 2
Record Label: Western Vinyl
01. I Am A Thought 1:54
02. An Intention 4:01
03. A Kid 5:05
04. In The World 3:01
05. I Am Consumed 0:55
06. In a World, but Not of the World 3:58
07. I Am Learning 3:17
08. To Follow & Lead 4:49
09. Until I Remember 4:24
10. Who I Am & Why I Am Where I Am 5:21
11. I Am Curious, I Care 3:45
12. I Will Make Room For You 4:59
13. To Feel Your Best 6:21
℗ 2017 Western Vinyl
≡ Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith: Composition, Performance, Recording, and Mixing
≡ Stargaze: String Quartet
≡ Emily Lazar: Mastering
≡ Tim Saccenti: Photography
≡ Rob Moss Wilson: Illustration
φφ→ Buchla Music Easel, Buchla 200e, Synthi, Synthi 100, Oscar, Prophet 5, Sh 101, WASP, Chroma, Fairlight, Makenoise Modular, Polyvoks, Oberheim 2 voice, Jupiter 8, Ondes Martinet, Polysinthi Quartet Flute, Trumpet, Bassoon, Cello
¬¬ In 2017, the musical term “electronic” is nearly obsolete given the ubiquity of computerized processes in producing music. Even so, the prevailing assumption is that musicians working under this broad umbrella must be inspired by concepts equally as electrified as their equipment. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has demonstrated in her still~blooming discography that this notion couldn’t be further from the truth, and that more often than not, rich worlds of synthesized sound are born from deep reverence of the natural world. Smith (who by no coincidence, cites naturalist David Attenborough as a contemporary muse) has embodied such an appreciation on The Kid in as direct and sincere a way as possible by sonically charting the phases of life itself. The album, which punctually follows up her 2016 breakthrough EARS, chronicles four defining cognitive and emotional stages of the human lifespan across four sides of a double LP.
¬¬ The first side takes us through the confused astonishment of a newborn, unaware of itself, existing in an unwitting nirvana. Smith’s music has always woven a youthful thread befitting of the aforementioned subject. Here she articulates it in signature fashion on the track “An Intention,” which serves not only as a soaring spire on The Kid, but on her entire output. There is playfulness here, but it's elevated by an undertone of gravity into something compelling and majestic that is fast becoming Smith’s watermark. The emotional focus of side two is the vital but underreported moment in early youth when we cross the threshold into self awareness. The subject is profound enough to fill an entire album, but rarely makes its way into a single track, indicating Smith’s ambition to broach subtler and deeper subjects than the average composer. This side offers up another highlight in the form of “In The World But Not Of The World” which serves its subject well with epiphanic, climbing strings and decidedly noisy textures over a near~Bollywood low end pulse.
¬¬ Side three emphasizes a feeling of being confirmed enough in one’s own identity to begin giving back to the formative forces of one’s upbringing, which is arguably the duty that all great artists aim to fulfill. This side ends with the exploratory album cut “Who I Am & Why I Am Where I Am” recorded in a single take without overdubs on the rare EMS Synthi 100 synthesizer. This humble piece of sound design serves as a contrast to side four’s verdant orchestral moments, all written and arranged for the EU~based Stargaze quartet by Smith herself. This final side represents a return to pure being, the kind of wisdom and peace that eludes most of us until the autumn of life. On “To Feel Your Best” this concept is voiced in the bittersweet refrain “one day I’ll wake up and you won’t be there” which Smith intended to be a grateful acknowledgement of life rather than a melancholy resentment of loss. The song has both effects depending on the mood of the listener, and both interpretations are equally moving.
¬¬ Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith belongs to an ilk of modern musicians who are defined by their commitment to creating experiential albums despite the singles~oriented habits of modern listeners, and here she represents her kind proudly. The subjects on The Kid are not simple to convey, and yet through both emotional tone and lyrical content, Smith does just that. There is a similar gravity to both birth and death, and rarely is that correlation as accurately and enthusiastically mapped as it is here.
¬¬ Alan Watts, another logical inspiration of Smith’s, once expounded that people record themselves to confirm their own existence, and as such, echoes and resonance are reminders that we are alive. “You’re not there unless you’re recorded,” Watts muses, “if you shout, and it doesn’t come back and echo, it didn’t happen.” The Kid speaks to this idea directly. As Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith explores her existence through music, she guides us in gleefully contemplating our own. Review
by Sasha Geffen; 6. Oct. 2017; Score: 8.1
★λ★• On her most accessible album yet, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith draws out the organic qualities of her Buchla 100 modular synth. But The Kid sparks a bodily pleasure alongside her music’s cerebral delights.
★λ★• With each new album, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith folds more of her voice into the effervescent, kaleidoscopic electronic music she’s made since borrowing a neighbor’s Buchla 100 synthesizer as a recent Berklee graduate. The L.A.~based composer, who’s one of the few artists to rely on the rare modular system as her primary instrument, has released at least one LP a year since 2015, but her latest record The Kid stands apart as her most immediate and accessible yet. Though its narrative follows a human lifespan through four developmental stages, from newborn bewilderment to a calm acceptance of death, the album flows seamlessly from its initial burbles to its melancholy finish. There are no chapter markers, and if you’d rather ignore the concept behind the compositions, Smith makes it easy to enjoy the music without mapping it to a story. Then again, it’s a story that doesn’t take a lot of concentration: If you’ve been born, grown up, and encountered death, you already know it by heart.
★λ★• While some contemporary synthesists (like SOPHIE or Arca) emphasize the artificiality of their medium, Smith prefers to draw out its organic qualities — the way sounds churned from electricity can sound like weather, or rustling leaves, or burrowing animals. On The Kid, she loops humanity into that ecosystem, entangling her vocals in fluttering arpeggios and corkscrewing bass. Though her voice drives most songs on The Kid, she never treats it as separate from the rest of her arsenal. It’s not an embellishment slapped on top of an otherwise complete instrumental; it’s wholly integrated into the complex webbing of each piece. There’s a stunning moment on “A Kid” when the beat falls away and Smith sings through filters at several simultaneous pitches. She sounds like an organ that’s learned to articulate syllables, both singer and instrument at the same time. Distorted, multi~tracked, shifted, and still addictively tuneful, Smith’s voice humanizes the work without breaking the spell she casts while commanding her machines.
★λ★• That the human body is inextricable from the rest of the world seems to be the point. While writing the album, Smith took inspiration from the work of British philosopher Alan Watts, whose lectures tend to emphasize the interconnectedness of all life. People might be isolated sensorily, but all of us come from, and return to, the earth. Smith seizes upon this concept with joy. Her compositions, some of which incorporate orchestral instruments played by the Stargaze collective, overflow with texture and detail. Compared to her more reserved prior albums, 2015’s Euclid and 2016’s EARS, The Kid at times plays almost like Grimes’ alien electro~pop or Caribou’s house~indebted beats. There’s stomp and bite to tracks like “To Follow & Lead” that Smith has never quite indulged before. Without sacrificing her ear for detail, she’s engineered an album that sparks a bodily pleasure alongside her music’s continued cerebral delights.
★λ★• Even as The Kid rolls to a stop on an explicitly mournful note, Smith extracts as much joy as possible from the sadness. “To Feel Your Best” confronts the thought that everyone you’ll ever love will die with the same verve as the Flaming Lips on “Do You Realize??” Against the chirps of her synthesizers, Smith sings, “I’m gonna wake up one day and you won’t be there/’Cause I care that’s why I stare… I’m gonna miss miss miss will miss your face.” It’s a sobering thought, to memorize the contours of a loved one’s face because you’re pretty sure you’ll outlive them, but Smith treats it gently. There is beauty in that impulse, as there’s beauty in all the human impulses The Kid excavates — and celebrates — so gracefully. ★λ★• https://pitchfork.com/
About Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
• Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith composes bright, fluid soundscapes on a variety of synthesizers, most notably the Buchla Music Easel. Excited by the endless possibilities of electronic instruments, her music is filled with vivid, expressive melodies along with her warped, ethereal vocals. Smith grew up on the serene, peaceful Orcas Island in northwest Washington, and attended the Berklee College of Music in order to study composition and sound engineering. She started out as a vocalist before taking up classical guitar and piano, and formed an indie folk project called Ever Isles. After moving back to Orcas Island, she became obsessed with creating electronic music after a neighbor lent her a Buchla 100 synthesizer, and began recording calm ambient soundscapes inspired by nature. After releasing a few of these recordings online, Smith signed with Austin label Western Vinyl and released the digital~only album Tides in early 2014. This was followed in early 2015 by her first physically released album, Euclid, an adventurous, playful album with much more of a pop focus than any of her previous works. Later in the year, Smith worked on Panda Bear’s “Boys Latin” music video and composed music for Reggie Watts’ short film Brasilia: City of the Future. Smith’s next full~length, Ears, arrived in April of 2016. Slightly darker than Euclid, the album featured an increased presence of vocals as well as woodwind arrangements. Following the album’s release, Smith opened for Animal Collective during their spring North American tour. She then collaborated with new age pioneer Suzanne Ciani for the 13th volume of Rvng Intl.’s Frkwys series, Sunergy. A cover of Sade’s “By Your Side” appeared in early 2017. This preceded The Kid, Smith’s most accessible album yet, which featured acoustic instrumentation by the Berlin~based ensemble Stargaze. ~ Paul Simpson