Posts Tagged ‘Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’

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Next week Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith will return with her new album “The Mosaic of Transformation” via Ghostly International. West coast composer, artist, and producer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has chartered a pioneering career with multiple critically-acclaimed albums since 2015. Following the release of The Kid in 2017, Smith focused her energy in several directions. She founded Touchtheplants, a multidisciplinary creative environment for projects including the first volumes in her instrumental Electronic Series and pocket-sized poetry books on the practice of listening within. She’s continued to explore the endless possibilities of electronic instruments as well as the shapes, movements, and expressions found in the physical body’s relationship to sound and color. It is this life-guiding interest that forms the foundational frequencies of her latest full-length, The Mosaic of Transformation, a bright, sensorial glide through unbound wave phenomena and the radiant power discovered within oneself.

Smith describes her first encounters with this mosaic; “the inspiration came to me in a sudden bubble of joy. It was accompanied by a multitude of shapes that were moving seamlessly from one into the other…My movement practice has been a constant transformation piece by piece. I made this album in the same way. Every day I would transform what I did yesterday…into something else. This album has gone through about 12 different versions of itself.” As it has arrived, in a completed state, The Mosaic of Transformation is a holistic manifestation of embodied motions. Smith’s signature textural curiosity that fans have grown to adore pivots naturally into a proprioceptive study of melody and timbre. Airy organ and voice interweave with burbling Buchla-spawned harmonic bubbles.

“The Steady Heart” quivers to life, peppering blasts of wooden organ between winding vocal affirmations. As with a body, moving one portion requires a balance and counterbalance; here, subtle tonal twitchy signals fire in conjunction with coiling arias to create a mesmeric core. When the beat arrives at the midway mark, a swooping and jittery waltz, a sense of stasis in motion, a flow state, is sonically achieved. As soon as it syncs, it disappears back into the swirling ebbs of electric force.

Other tracks stray into more ruminative physical realms. “Carrying Gravity” is built around string-like pads that expand and contract like a solar plexus, becoming taught and then loose. As the breath interacts and is focused upon, suddenly, the nervous system engages, delicate arpeggios cascade, akin to becoming aware of the transmission of energy happening between muscles and the mind.

If the record could be summarized in a single movement, it is the 10-minute closing suite, a rapturous collage called “Expanding Electricity.” Symphonic phrases establish the piece before washes of glittering electric peals and synthesized vibraphone helix into focus. Soon, Smith’s voice grounds it all with an intuitive vocal hook, harmonized and augmented by concentric spirals of harp-and-horn-like sounds. Smith’s music doesn’t capture a specific emotion as much as it captures the joys of possessing a body, and the ability to, with devotion and a steady open heart, maneuver that vessel in space by way of electricity to euphoric degrees

We’ve previously shared the album’s first two singles “Expanding Electricity” and “The Steady Heart” and ahead of next’s weeks release she’s released the third single from the album, “Carrying Gravity.” It’s a thoughtful and contemplative instrumental that takes you on a cerebral but emotional journey that is constantly shifting throughout its loving seven-minute runtime.

Here’s a description of the track from Kaitlyn herself:

Carrying gravity, Love is never without a sound. Sound is never without a rhythm. Rhythm is never without a pulse. A pulse is never without 2 extremes oscillating. Gravity is a force that tries to pull two objects toward each other. Carrying both extremes towards center.

Listen to “Carrying Gravity” below.

‘The Mosaic of Transformation’

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West coast composer, artist, and producer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith will release her new album “The Mosaic of Transformation” on May 15th via Ghostly International.

Smith has recently released her expansive 10-minute soaring track “Expanding Electricity” from the album. The track reveals itself to be many things during the course of it’s 10-minute runtime, exploring colorful soundscapes and worlds that continually shifts and evolves, with a lush cinematic quality to it that never stops transforming.It looks like we have an early contender for one of the best songs of the year.

Enjoy a listen to “Expanding Electricity”

Order ‘The Mosaic of Transformation

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s Tides was initially released on Western Vinyl in 2014, but it’s only now that it’s getting a physical release via Smith’s own Touchtheplants imprint. Her label is “dedicated to the joy of storytelling and exploring the spirit through music and visual arts.” And appropriately, the nine tracks that comprise the album were originally commissioned for use in the yoga classes that Smith’s mother teaches. Every piece on Tides was composed and performed on a Buchla Music Easel, a modular synthesizer that has been utilized by musicians as varied as Sarah Davachi, Donnacha Costello, and David Rosenboom. While she’s always made synth-based music, Smith doesn’t aim for the cosmic epics or thrilling art pop of her recent albums here. Instead, she conjures up lambent ambient soundscapes that are as serene as they are delicate.

Tides feels like it falls between the charmingly homespun pieces Smith released in 2012 and her more adventurous records from the past few years. While a few tracks contain wind chimes and birdsong, the album is otherwise built on the sounds of the Buchla synthesizer alone—there’s no guitar, piano, or vocals, let alone the playful mixing that gives some of Smith’s work its verve. She trusts in the instrument to be the source of all evocation, and this honing of her craft was presumably necessary before she could create the colorful synth work that characterizes her later albums.

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While it offers a curious glimpse into a vital part of Smith’s career, Tides is also a remarkable album in its own right; each track introduces listeners to a discrete space, letting us rest within its rhythmic swirls. “Tides I,” “II,” and “III” are comforting in their playfulness, their high-pitched tones and wobbling melodies evoking childlike wonder. Others, like “Tides V” and “VIII,” provide monolithic, aqueous atmospheres for listeners to soak in. “Tides IX” is the most notably different, featuring a sustained synth note dissolving into an extended field recording. With that particular transition, Smith posits that the invigorating warmth of these songs can be found in nature itself. It can be said, then, that Tides revitalizes listeners who step inside its environment, opening their eyes to the world around them.

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The Weather Station  –  The Weather Station

On her fourth (and tellingly self-titled) album as The Weather Station, Tamara Lindeman reinvents, and more deeply roots, her extraordinary, acclaimed songcraft, framing her precisely detailed, exquisitely wrought prose-poem narratives in bolder and more cinematic musical settings. The result is her most sonically direct and emotionally candid statement to date. The most fully realized statement to date from Toronto songwriter Tamara Lindeman. Self-titled and self-produced, the album unearths a vital new energy from Lindeman’s acclaimed songwriting practice, marrying it to a bold new sense of confidence.

CD – Digipack.

LP – Deluxe 140 Gram virgin vinyl LP features heavy-duty board jacket with full lyrics, full-colour inner sleeve, and high-res Download Card.

Yak yala! cover

Yak  –  All I Need Is Some Sunshine In My Life

Limited to just 300 Copies on 7″ Vinyl. Renowned for the ferocious intensity of their live shows, Yak are back with the new single All I Need Is Some Sunshine In My Life. Recorded with Tame Impala’s Jay Gum Watson in Kevin Parker’s studio in Perth, the track is Yak’s claustrophobic interpretation of The Dixie Nightingale’s cult gospel classic. “A loved one departed and on the way out sent me this song, so we ended up recording a delirious version in the blistering heat of Perth,” says Yak frontman Oli Burslem. “I love the original Dixie Nightingales’ version, it reminds me of songs like Wendy Rene’s ‘After Laughter’, which I imagined was recorded in the same studio with maybe even the same people playing.” On the b-side is Yak’s take on Lee Hazelwood’s Wait and See.

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Weaves  –  Wide Open

It’s been almost exactly a year since Weaves released their acclaimed self-titled debut LP, lauded internationally for its exuberant approach to guitar pop and recently nominated for this year’s Polaris Prize. It was a whirlwind year for the band who spent a nearly uninterrupted 12 months on the road, playing festivals across the globe, and touring with their fellow 2016 breakout artists Sunflower Bean and Mitski. Propelled forward by their own momentum, which they corralled like the barely contained energy of their explosive live sets, it was a life changing-experience, and upon returning home to Toronto the band’s leaders, singer Jasmyn Burke and guitarist Morgan Waters, found themselves possessed by an irrepressible burst of creative energy.

Burke and Waters half-jokingly refer to the album as their “Americana” record, and while the statement is made with tongues placed firmly in cheeks, the album, without discarding the punky pyrotechnics that defined their first LP, displays an expansive and anthemic quality in songs like the opener #53 and the sweeping Walkaway, that makes the joke ring half true. The record sees Burke extend herself as a performer – moving more frequently to the center of arrangements and revealing new facets of her unique and powerful singing voice – as the band find ways to interpret the growing diversity of her expression. From the glammy Saturday night strut of Slicked, to the stripped-down, pedal steel abetted torch song Wide Open, to the searing Scream, a warped duet with Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq that likely constitutes Weaves’ wildest recording to date, the album captures a band for whom exploration is a compulsion making a self-assured step into the unknown.

LP+ – Limited White Vinyl housed in Gatefold Sleeve with Download.

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 under reported
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 and 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.
2LP – Double Black Vinyl.
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Yumi Zouma –  Willowbank

Following last year’s lauded debut LP, Yumi Zouma return to Cascine with their sophomore album, Willowbank, a collection of dreamy, disco-indebted pop tracks. The album’s namesake is a wildlife reserve in the band’s home base of Christchurch, NZ, a community on the mend in the wake of a devastating earthquake in 2011. The Yumis, whose four members are scattered across the globe, reunited in New Zealand to write and record Willowbank. The result is an album that channels both the tight-knit togetherness and the unparalleled beauty of their native land. Willowbank is also some of Yumi Zouma’s best work to date, refining their effortless, windswept songwriting sensibility, while also exploring a new pallet of sounds and textures.

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Cults  –  Offering

Cults made their name in black and white. A pair of film school dropouts who burst onto the New York scene with a perfect single and a darkly retro sound, the band’s first two albums play like noirish documentaries on a lost girl group. Four years after Static, Cults returns with Offering, an exciting collection of songs bursting with heart, confidence, shimmering melody and buzzing life. The time off has given the band new energy and new ideas–Cults are working in Technicolour now. The core duo remains the same. Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion, both 28, still live in New York. They still finish each other’s thoughts and still share a love of catchy music and black humor (this is a band that sampled cult leader Jim Jones on their first hit). But the pair have put some blood on the tracks since their breakout debut: they’ve toured the world, built a devoted audience, survived a breakup, grown up in green rooms, parted ways with their old label and made a home of their new one.

Pains album cover

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – The Echo Of Pleasure

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have long set the benchmark for big-hearted, idealistic pop songs. With The Echo of Pleasure, The Pains push beyond their many inspirations and embrace their role as indiepop heroes in their own right. Showcasing the deft songwriting of frontman Kip Berman, The Pains‘ fourth album is their most confident and accomplished. After three critically-acclaimed records, 2009’s The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, 2011’s Belong and 2014’s Days of Abandon received praise from The New York Times, Pitchfork, The Guardian and Rolling Stone, they have put together a collection of songs that possess a timeless grandeur, deeper and more satisfying than anything the band has done since their iconic debut.

It’s an album that reflects the band’s most joyous moments while maintaining Berman’s candid and critical lyricism, free of the self-abasing insecurity of youth. “The album is loving. The music is heavier, more expansive,” he says. “To me, songs about love shouldn’t be thought of as light. Love is big- sometimes it’s emphatic, overwhelming or simple – other times it’s tense, anxious or just exhausting. But at its best, it makes you want to be something better.”

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Miracle Legion  –  “Annulment”

First ever live album by Miracle Legion, Annulment was recorded during the band’s 2016 US reunion tour. Most of the album comes from a show at Codfish Hollow, Iowa plus tracks from the Bellhouse, Brooklyn show. Double CD with 25 songs

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Richard Thompson – Acoustic Classics 2

A continuation of the Acoustic Classics series, this collection features acoustic renderings of classic songs from the Richard Thompson catalog, including some previously recorded by other singers, some only available in a band format, and some only existing as cover versions.

3LP – Triple Gatefold Vinyl comprising Acoustic Classics II and the Acoustic Rarities albums.

It’s been a year since Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith gave us Ears, the album that preceded her latest full-length offering The Kid. Not much breathing room whatsoever, we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

The Kid is, as she described herself, “a journey from birth to death it’s about four stages of life through my interpretation of it. It’s all about remembering and forgetting your kid energy,” and will see Smith embarking on another US tour right after its launch. Four Tet has remixed a song off Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s new album The Kid. Listen to his rendition of “I Will Make Room for You” and check out the single’s artwork below. Four Tet recently released a new album of his own, titled New Energy.

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Last year, Smith released two new albums: EARS and a collaborative project with Suzanne Ciani called Sunergy. Earlier this year, she also covered Sade’s “By Your Side.”

Although she has previously unveiled singles ‘To Follow & Lead’, ‘An Intention’, and ‘To Feel Your Best’, the full thing is now available now.

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Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith is incredibly consistant. Last year, she released her electronic album Ears as well as a collaborative project with composer Suzanne Ciani titled Sunergy. Now, she’s back with a new full-length release.

In 2017, the musical term “electronic” is nearly obsolete given the 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. 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 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. As Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith explores her existence through music, she guides us in gleefully contemplating our own.

The Kid is out on October 6th via Western Vinyl and she’s kicked off the roll-out with the release of lead single ‘An Intention.’

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