“The most anticipated experimental album of 2017” – Rolling StoneKaitlyn Aurelia Smith has shared the new song, “To Feel Your Best,” a reflective track that shows the synthesist and composer establishing a transcendent drift that she imbues with pop sensibilities and a nostalgic yearning. Her new album The Kid traces the human life cycle through four distinct phases, and “To Feel Your Best” represents the final stage, a bittersweet goodbye, but also a renewal and a reflection on not only of what is lost but also gained; a rebirth.
The Kid has been named one of the most anticipated albums of the fall by Pitchfork and New York Magazine, and praised for Smith’s unique blend of experimental electronics, kinetic energy, and melodic prowess. The album is out October 6th on Western Vinyl, and follows her breakthrough album EARS as well as the collaborative album Sunergy with Suzanne Ciani.
“The modular maestro charts a path from birth to death.” – FACT
“A lovely piece of deeply weird pop music.” – Stereogum
11/20/17 – Berlin, Germany @ Funkhaus
11/21/17 – London, United Kingdom @ Scala
11/22/17 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Melkweg
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith releases To Follow And Lead, the second single from her hotly-anticipated new album, The Kid, set for release October 6th on Western Vinyl.
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
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith covers Sade’s classic ballad, ‘By Your Side’, taken from her 2000 album, Lovers Rock. The track is made available here as a free download.
About the cover, Kaitlyn says: Lovers Rock was the album I listened to the most when I was 15 and decided to start writing songs. Sade has always been a favorite vocalist of mine – so emotive and honest and true. To me, her voice glides naturally across genders and genres, which is a quality I also work to embody with my vocals. Sade is pure class in my book.
creditsreleased June 6, 2017
Sade Adu, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
Composer, performer, and producer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s new album ‘EARS’ is an immersive listening experience in which dizzying swirls of organic and synthesized sounds work together to create a sense of three-dimensional space and propulsion. Dense and carefully crafted, each of the songs on ‘EARS’ unfolds with a fluid elegance, while maintaining a spontaneous energy, and a sprightly sense of discovery.
Much of the album’s warmth and energy stems from Smith’s use of the versatile analog synthesizer, the Buchla Music Easel. According to Smith “Nothing compares to the sound of a Buchla. In my mind a Buchla synthesizer has the most human sound in it. I wanted to show the Easel’s versatility and range of motion within a live set. I also wanted to spend as little time as possible in front of the computer during the creation”.
“Beguiling, kaleidoscopic, spiritual synth visions” 4/5 Mojo
“A special record” 8/10 Uncut
“EARS sees the human, the organic, and the cosmic cast aloft together, spinning and enveloping the world, illustrated as perfect and beautiful” 8/10 Crack Magazine
“A richly mastered convoy of drones of both acoustic and electronic provenance” The Wire
“I absolutely love her work…an incredible tune that runs in excess of 11 minutes, but if you can offer your patience, it’ll reward you handsomely, trust me” Mary Anne Hobbs, BBC 6 Music
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith ‘EARS’
Release Date: 1st April 2016
Label: Western Vinyl
Formats: LP // CD // Digital
Cat No: WV145
01. First Flight
04. When I try, I’m Full
05. Rare Things Grow
08. Existence in the Unfurling
01/04/2016 Fri NETHERLANDS THE HAGUE Rewire Festival
02/04/2016 Sat NETHERLANDS THE HAGUE Rewire Q&A
04/04/2016 Mon NETHERLANDS AMSTERDAM Muziekgebouw w/ Anna Meredith
05/04/2016 Tue SWITZERLAND LAUSANNE Les Docks w/ Battles
06/04/2016 Wed SWITZERLAND ZURICH Rote Fabrik w/ Battles
07/04/2016 Thu GERMANY BERLIN Kantine am Berghain
12/04/2016 Tue SERBIA BELGRADE Resonate Festival
13/04/2016 Wed GERMANY BERLIN Ableton User Group Meeting
14/04/2016 Thu CZECH REPUBLIC PRAGUE Meet Factory
15/04/2016 Fri AUSTRIA LINZ Stadtwerkstatt / Kirchengasse 7
03/07/2016 Sun UK LONDON LSO St Luke’s for Possibly Colliding
Listeners familiar with Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s previous album Euclid (an album that prompted Dazed to call her “…one of the most pioneering musicians in the world.”) will no doubt notice her heavier use of vocals on her new album EARS. On all but one song, her gently ecstatic swells of vocals emerge to soar over a dense jungle of synths and woodwinds.
After initially composing on a Buchla analog synth, she wrote arrangements for a woodwind quintet, added vocals, and further refined the pieces with granular synthesis techniques she developed in her sound design work (she contributed sound design to Panda Bear’s “Boys Latin” video, and handled sound design and original compositions for Brasilia co-written by and starring Reggie Watts).
Kinetic arpeggios of synths pulse, often buoying her graceful vocal mantras, while woodwinds breathe and flutter, emulating the wildlife Smith observed while growing up on the West Coast (she even studied recordings of slowed down bird calls prior to composing these pieces). Though some of her gestures echo the musical tropes used by early minimalist composers, the world she creates on EARS is uniquely hypnotic and full of life, not unlike Miyzaki’s film Nausicaä, which she cites as an inspiration.
Artist Page westernvinyl.com/artists/kaitlyn-aurelia-smith
March 18 – London – Convergence Festival
March 22 – Dublin – Button Factory w/ Battles
March 24 – London – Electric Brixton w/ Battles
March 25 – Paris – La Cigale w/ Battles
March 26 – Reims – La Cartonnerie w/ Battles
March 27 – Brussels – BRDCST Festival
March 29 – Milan – Magazzini Generali w/ Battles
March 30 – Rome – Quirinetta w/ Battles
March 31 – Roncade – New Age Roncade w/ Battles
April 01 – The Hague – Rewire Festival
April 05 – Lausanne – Les Docks w/ Battles
April 06 – Zurich – Rote Fabrik w/ Battles
April 07 – Berlin – Kantine am Berghain
April 12 – Belgrade – Resonate Festival
April 13 – Berlin – Ableton User Group Meeting
April 15 – Linz – Stadtwerkstatt / Kirchengasse 7
April 28 – Fayetteville, AR – George’s Majestic Lounge w/ Animal Collective
April 29 – Austin, TX – Levitation
May 01 – Tulsa, OK – Cains Ballroom w/ Animal Collective
May 03 – St. Louis, MO – Pageant – St Louis, MO w/ Animal Collective
May 04 – Royal Oak, MI – Royal Oak Music Theatre w/ Animal Collective
May 06 – Nashville, TN – Marathon Music Works w/ Animal Collective
May 07 – Atlanta, GA – Buckhead Theatre w/ Animal Collective
May 08 – Asheville, NC – Orange Peel w/ Animal Collective
May 10 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club w/ Animal Collective
May 13 – Wilmington, DE – World Café Live at The Queen w/ Animal Collective
May 14 – Sayreville, NJ – Starland Ballroom – w/ Animal Collective
Marking the April 1 release of her album, EARS, on Western Vinyl, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith embarks on her first ever European tour. Kaitlyn will support the mighty Battles, on a number of European dates, and will also feature at festivals including Convergence, BRDCST, Rewire and Resonate.
Check out the single, Arthropoda, from the forthcoming album, EARS.
Ahead of her support set on Animal Collective’s upcoming tour, the Washington experimental electronic artist debuts her new single.
You might not be super familiar with Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s name but you might’ve heard her sound design work in the outro of Panda Bear’s “Boys Latin” video. Over the past two years, the Washington native has released two albums of ambient electronic music on Western Vinyl and is now gearing up to put out her third, titled EARS. Standout single “Arthopoda” is like an enchanting maze: Smith uses a Buchla synthesizer to create an amazing array of electronic sounds that conjure up forest-like imagery for her voice to get lost in.
“In recording EARS, my intention was to take audiences on a sonic motion ride through a futuristic jungle,” Smith told The FADER over email. “I am inspired by the works of Moebius and Miyazaki—in particular the film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind—I wanted to play with visceral sounds that pull one between feelings of beauty and dissonance, chaos and order. My hope is that, on a straight-through listen, in a darkened room, on a loud stereo, EARS will inspire a rich visual narrative in listeners’ minds.”
Western Vinyl will release EARS on April 1, 2016.
Read the full The Fader article By SHAELYNE MOODIE here