Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - The Kid

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith — The Kid

Western Vinyl, 2017

The Kid gives us Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith at the experimental, conceptual peak of her compositional powers. The album’s “concept,” if you can call it that, traces its titular “kid” from the birth of thought to the cold acceptance of physical death. And at every stage, we learn how to be in the world alongside the kid —how to discover things about ourselves (“Who I Am & Why I Am Where I Am”), how to ask questions (“I Am Curious, I Care”), how to exist in relation to other people (“I Will Make Room for You”).

This is gorgeous stuff for synth + voice. The Kid is a trip, treat it as such.

RIYD: Caribou, Four Tet, Visible Cloaks, Suzanne Ciani, Pauline Oliveros, Laurie Spiegel, Midori Takada, Yasuaki Shimizu

BEST: 10, 12, 13

 

1. I Am a Thought [1:54] — First cognitive inclinations gurgle into existence via Buchla synth magic.

2. An Intention [4:01] — Really cool distortions on Smith’s voice. Mostly a vocal piece, until the end, when these incredible flutes and synths take over.                          

3. A Kid [5:04] — Robotic techno beeps and boops until the ecstatic moment when the beat falls away entirely and Smith sings herself into nothingness.

4. In the World [3:00] — Pop song! Happy to be in the world.

5. I Am Consumed [0:54] — Wonderment!

6. In the World, but Not of the World [3:57] — Haunting chimes at the core of the track, but Smith builds a spinning electronic world around them and nearly covers them up. A universe of sound whirling around you.

7. I Am Learning [3:16] — Playful, rhythmic, childlike.

8. To Follow & Lead [4:48] — Dark sounds, percussion and “brass” at the fore.

9. Until I Remember [4:23] — Bubbling Buchla and synthetic bird calls. Smith’s voice is folded really beautifully into the textures, here.

10. Who I Am & Why I Am Where I Am [5:21] — Absolutely love this one. At once minimal and epic. Synthetic, natural universe of birds and misty treetops.

11. I Am Curious, I Care [3:45] — Rich, gorgeous interplay between synth choir and voice. Soulful singing.

12. I Will Make Room for You [4:59] — My favorite track. Totally blissful sound. Put it on repeat.

13. To Feel Your Best [6:20] — The kid faces death, gracefully: “I’m gonna wake up one day and you won’t be there.”

 

Will Gottsegen