Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – EARS - 2016 Exp Downtempo Ambient Electronic LP
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – EARS
Western Vinyl – WV145
Vinyl, LP, Album
01 Apr 2016
Downtempo, Abstract, Ambient
A1 First Flight 4:38
A2 Wetlands 3:35
A3 Envelop 4:57
A4 When I Try, I'm Full 3:57
B1 Rare Things Grow 3:46
B2 Arthropoda 3:38
B3 Stratus 3:05
B4 Existence In The Unfurling 11:09
Copyright (c) – Western Vinyl
Copyright (c) – Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
Artwork – Salihah Moore Kirby
Composed By, Arranged By, Performer, Producer, Recorded By, Mixed By – Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
Mastered By – Simon Heyworth
Voice, Flute, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Synthesizer [Buchla Music Easel, EMS Synthi, ARP 2600, Oscar, Korg Mono/Poly, Electrocomp 101, Moog Werkstatt] – Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
Woodwind – Rob Frye
Download card included.
Barcode and Other Identifiers
Barcode: 7 51937 43551 8
Matrix / Runout (Side A, Etched): WV 145-A-RE1 WMM/CJIII
Matrix / Runout (Side B, Etched): WV 145-B-RE1 WMM
Many of the warm, bubbling textures on EARS can be traced to Smith’s obsession with a rare analog synthesizer by Buchla, but the real secret of the album’s aesthetic owes more to the fact that it’s hard to make out the sources. In her hands, acoustic instruments sound like electronic ones, synthetic sounds reference nature, and human voices sound like the creation of machines. The defining characteristics of each instrument—in addition to analog synths, the album features woodwinds and flute from Bitchin Bajasmember Rob Frye along with Smith’s singing—are turned inside out and re-defined, giving the record a pleasingly alien mood that also feels oddly familiar.
Smith is prolific and her Bandcamp has nine releases, many of which are quite good. But many of her earlier records are "experimental" in the most literal sense, where she gives herself certain limitations and parameters and sees what she can create within those strictures. EARS has more to offer as an album-length experience. And while this sort of ambient music is often associated with lengthy side-long compositions, Smith’s pieces are relative miniatures, mostly of pop-song length.
Each track it filled competing approaches that clash in delicate ways. "Arthropoda" is like a new age rainforest recording made on a distant planet, with buzzing insects and liquid gurgles, but it also sounds human, as Smith’s layered voice repeats an unidentifiable phrase with a deadpan insistence that brings to mind Philip Glassor Laurie Anderson. "Wetlands" finds Smith taking voice processing even further, as syllables blur into unearthly whooshes of noise that seems to be moving through a medium thicker than water. Tracks like "First Flight" have a more conventional spacey drift and these bring to mind the earlier synth music of Oneohtrix Point Never, but Smith’s work never feels particularly referential. Even though many parts of this record sound like they could have been made in the ’70s or ’80s, you never get the sense that the technology is the point."