Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
In 2015 Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith released her first widely distributed full-length album, Euclid, a playful and wide-eyed album spurred from her experiments in writing music for geometric shapes while at the San Francisco Conservatory. A clear step forward from the nebulousness of her previous output, Euclid drew acclaim from all reaches of the experimental music world and cleared a path for Smith’s successive longform work. 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” remarking aptly that Smith “focuses on a narrow band of feeling-- wonder, curiosity, disorientation, bliss-- and constructs a gleaming sonic world to house them.” The site included both EARS, and Smith’s collaboration with longtime influence Suzanne Ciani, Sunergy, as two 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 her collaboration with Ciani that year Smith teamed with Mark Pritchard for Absolut’s remix series, 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.”
Smith focuses on a narrow band of feeling – wonder, curiosity, disorientation, bliss – and constructs a gleaming sonic world to house them, a place where the lines between thoughts and feelings and styles are porous.
Like the work of Hayao Miyazaki, whom Smith admires, her music imagines something mythic or elemental colliding against modernity.
A wholly immersive, mesmeric listen.
For an artist known for her analog synth wizardry, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith makes music that’s beguilingly organic.
A novel, naturalistic, and, yes, pop-savvy voice wielding an instrument known for esoteric experimentalism.
…adventurous, mesmerizing sonic compositions…
…one of the most pioneering musicians in the world.
…an entrancing…playful, engaging, and often incredibly soothing synth odyssey…