By ANDREW TERRY
The Current Editor
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s latest album “Let’s turn it into sound” is weird. The album is wonderfully idiosyncratic, Smith creates a gilded foreign world of sound that endlessly pushes the listener to discover more.
Smith is a Los Angeles -based composer, performer and producer who works primarily with electronic synthesizers. She has produced a wide range of music from yoga soundtracks to an album based on the human lifecycle, from birth to death, titled “The Kid.”
“Let’s turn it into sound” is ceaselessly energetic. The music never quite lands in a restful place. The first song on the album “Have you felt lately” begins with an onslaught of sound reminiscent of 8-bit video game boss music, then, as quickly as it came, transitions into an airy choral arrangement and once again the song melts down into a church organ soundscape. The album never loses the vivacity of its intro track.
Smith said that she was first introduced to the Buchla, the brand of synthesizer she prefers to make music with, while setting up her neighbor’s studio, according to an interview with Red Bull Music Academy.
She said that her neighbor used to teach electronic music at NYU and let her borrow a Buchla 100 for a year. “That Buchla 100 was a very limited modular system with 12 modules and no sequencer or keyboard. It was really amazing. It taught me how to actually listen to music because it only had two oscillators. I would just turn them on and hear how they pulsed against each other,” she said in the Red Bull interview.
Consistently throughout the album, the songs stop and start on a whim. A song will start with an explosive arrangement and without warning switch to an airy choir or a cascade of percussion. One track is more like three or four songs with a few unifying themes tying them loosely together.
“Let’s turn it into sound” embodies exactly what experimental music should be. It’s weird, it’s unafraid to push limits but it does not go too far to be entirely unrecognizable. Smith lets the listener loose into an alien world full of mysteries that will never be explained and that’s OK because simply witnessing it is enough to see the beauty.