Synthesist and composer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has announced the release of The Kid, a sprawling new album that follow’s last year’s breakthrough album EARS. It will be released October 6th on Western Vinyl. The album is a sonic representation of four distinct stages of the human lifespan, from birth to self-awareness to the forging of one’s individual identity to old age. Working with a wide array of synthesizers, Smith has made an album that is at once personal and universal, sonically engrossing and lush.
Smith has shared “An Intention,” taken from the album’s first act representing a wide-eyed, playful, and exploratory period of life.
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.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – The Kid
(Western Vinyl – October 7th, 2017)
- I Am A Thought
- An Intention
- A Kid
- In The World
- I Am Consumed
- In The World, But Not Of The World
- I Am Learning
- To Follow And Lead
- Until I Remember
- Who I Am And Why I Am Where I Am
- I Am Curious, I Care
- I Will Make Room For You
- To Feel Your Best
Kaitlyn will perform across Europe this summer, following up with headline shows in November ::
11/08/2017 Tøyenparken, Oslo Øyafestivalen (Hi-Fi Klubben) NO
12/08/2017 Helsinki Flow Festival FI
16/08/2017 Stockholm Fasching SE
19/08/2017 Saint Malo La Route Du Rock FR
24/08/2017 Warsaw Plac Zabaw PL
26/08/2017 Gdansk Solidarity Of Arts Festival PL
30/08/2017 Obonjan Obonjan Island HR
31/08/2017 Pula Dimensions HR
20/11/2017 Berlin Funkhaus DE
21/11/2017 London Scala UK
22/11/2017 Amsterdam Melkweg NL