Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

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New album of superoxygenated synth fantasias out today, seems like a good time for her own thread.

donk at the radar station (NickB), Friday, 1 April 2016 07:02 (one year ago) Permalink

New one is great btw - it's a little less busy than Euclid, has more of the calmness of Tides. More vocals though plus real wind instruments alongside the burbling buchlas.

donk at the radar station (NickB), Friday, 1 April 2016 07:17 (one year ago) Permalink

This is relevant to my interests!

Sehr Kornisch (Branwell with an N), Friday, 1 April 2016 07:23 (one year ago) Permalink

Need to recall my 'great' about the new one and issue an 'absolutely fucking amazing' in its place

donk at the radar station (NickB), Friday, 1 April 2016 07:38 (one year ago) Permalink

I'm only 2 songs in, and I'm already lost and disoriented and amazed in all the best ways.

Last album, I was all "holy shit, these synths!!!" and barely noticed the vocals, but on this one, the tone-cluster harmonisations are unmissable and completely magical.

This is not something I'm going to be able to listen to on the tube, I can tell. I'm going to have to download this and go and sit quietly in a forest with it for a while.

Sehr Kornisch (Branwell with an N), Friday, 1 April 2016 07:42 (one year ago) Permalink

Just wait till the woodwinds turn up fwiw

donk at the radar station (NickB), Friday, 1 April 2016 07:45 (one year ago) Permalink

The Philip Glass-esque "pa-pa-pa-pa-pa" vocals meets slithering insect noises of Arthropoda just exploded my brain.

Sehr Kornisch (Branwell with an N), Friday, 1 April 2016 08:12 (one year ago) Permalink

thrilled that it's turned out so well. i liked euclid a lot, but there were some moments on it that veered a bit too close to animal collective-y sugar barf and reading that she was touring with them i feared she might go further in that direction. this one is straight-up gold though, and it arrived on the most perfect spring morning too.

donk at the radar station (NickB), Friday, 1 April 2016 08:52 (one year ago) Permalink

This is astonishing and beautiful, it's probably my favourite record of the year so far. I agree it's perfect for spring mornings. I preferred the gentler second half of Euclid and this is a step up even from that - burbling synths and woodwind instruments are one of my favourite sonic combinations so the fact that they're all over this is pretty much catnip for me.

I'm loving the inclusion of more vocals as well, they really work here in a way they didn't on Euclid.

Matt DC, Friday, 1 April 2016 09:08 (one year ago) Permalink

I'd love to get this today, but I don't understand why the CD isn't available on Smith's Bandcamp page? With small-label electronic releases today, normally you can order the CD/vinyl from Bandcamp, after which you can also download the albums as FLACs/WAVs, so you don't have to wait until the record arrives in mail. But this album can only be bought as digital download on Bandcamp, and since I'm one of those old-fashioned foIks who wants to have the CD too, I don't want to pay for it twice.

It was the same deal with Euclid too. Seems pretty stupid that her label doesn't follow what has become the norm with releases like these, it'll just encourage people to acquire the files via illegal means.

Tuomas, Friday, 1 April 2016 09:18 (one year ago) Permalink

good for you for trying to support the label, but amazon do a free autorip if you're desparate

donk at the radar station (NickB), Friday, 1 April 2016 09:24 (one year ago) Permalink

or even desperate

donk at the radar station (NickB), Friday, 1 April 2016 09:25 (one year ago) Permalink

Yeah, but only as MP3s. And Amazon's own prices are almost way higher than with other sellers.


Tuomas, Friday, 1 April 2016 09:30 (one year ago) Permalink

this album is gorgeous

cher guevara (lex pretend), Friday, 1 April 2016 16:21 (one year ago) Permalink


ended up listening to it 6 times today, and it's not even knocking-off time

donk at the radar station (NickB), Friday, 1 April 2016 16:27 (one year ago) Permalink

seen her twice and it's a remarkable live show; when someone's music has this many pre-composed threads, and your axe is a modular, it can be tough to walk the line between safely-programmed and live. and there are certainly prepared elements cooked in there but there's still a sense of independent threads & haywire randomness, and someone who knows how to listen & who knows her rig so well that all these random elements get utilized. the second live set in SF last september in particular just perfectly balanced live chaos and structure, blew me away much more than any of the records I'd heard so definitely looking forward to making time for this new one


Milton Parker, Friday, 1 April 2016 16:53 (one year ago) Permalink

Awesome! I'm looking forward to seeing her in a few weeks at Levitation. New album is great.

Check Yr Scrobbles (Moodles), Friday, 1 April 2016 17:11 (one year ago) Permalink

wow this is big step forward from her already excellent earlier stuff

adam, Friday, 1 April 2016 17:27 (one year ago) Permalink

Her best yet

Brad C., Friday, 1 April 2016 21:31 (one year ago) Permalink

in an act of unfettered capitalism run amok, I bought copies of Euclid and EARS from my local vinyl album purveyor this evening

Check Yr Scrobbles (Moodles), Saturday, 2 April 2016 03:11 (one year ago) Permalink

I bought Euclid from Origami when I was in L.A. a year ago. I am back now and will be buying Ears from ... somewhere.

alpine static, Saturday, 2 April 2016 03:25 (one year ago) Permalink

^^ not that this is all that exciting or worth posting, mostly i am just glad to be back down here where it is warm for a week

alpine static, Saturday, 2 April 2016 03:26 (one year ago) Permalink

This is fabulous. Like a midpoint between Glasser and Invisible Conga People, plus woodwinds.

Tim F, Saturday, 2 April 2016 05:20 (one year ago) Permalink

Definitely hearing glasser in the vocals and the way they're treated

donk at the radar station (NickB), Saturday, 2 April 2016 10:09 (one year ago) Permalink

Found out from a recent story that she comes from Orcas Island, one of the most beautiful but also fairly isolated places in the US. Whether or not that truly reflects in her art I don't know but I think it would encourage a certain independence.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 2 April 2016 12:11 (one year ago) Permalink

I guess I could easily google it, but where is that ned?

donk at the radar station (NickB), Saturday, 2 April 2016 12:49 (one year ago) Permalink

Washington state apparently. That helps explain part of her aesthetic for me. She certainly doesn't sound like anything else out of LA right now. There's this organic pastoral quality to her sound that's very unique and it's wonderful hope her folk and classical background influences her electronic composition. Her new album is a bloody masterpiece BTW. One of the best things released so far this year. She's definitely leveled up.

octobeard, Saturday, 2 April 2016 20:45 (one year ago) Permalink

Lovely stuff: Glasser/non-scary Fever Ray in the vocals, which presses my buttons

a hairy, howling toad torments a man whose wife is deathly ill (James Morrison), Sunday, 3 April 2016 08:47 (one year ago) Permalink

new interview @ popmatters

Driving a Spaceship Through Futuristic Jungles with Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

djmartian, Sunday, 3 April 2016 21:24 (one year ago) Permalink

The album was heavily influenced by animated art, particularly the movie Nausicaa by Hayao Miyazaki, but also the work of Jean Giraud Moebius and Killian Eng. All three artists, Smith says, “have these neo-futuristic vibes that still feel connected to nature and have a spiritual quality to them.” She adds, “That’s always been very evocative for me and has always been my visual language for when I’m creating sounds. It’s always been in that world. I’m starting to try and connect my visual world with my auditory world and try and make sound environments that can help other people feel those visual worlds.”


really liked euclid but this is wonderful

ogmor, Sunday, 3 April 2016 22:11 (one year ago) Permalink

nothing new to add, this is just incredible. "Existence In The Unfurling" is a perfect piece of music, the way those glassy melodies spiral and leap across each other is otherworldly.

boxedjoy, Sunday, 3 April 2016 22:33 (one year ago) Permalink

This is most excellent, and yeah, "Existence In The Unfurling" is so great, that, while really appreciating the composition of the short pieces here, and how finished they are...the lengthy exploration of the final track is just fantastic. What a closer.

Would echo the see her live if you can! The Bitchin' Bajas pairing last yr. was perfect (and Rob Frye from that outfit supplies horns and woodwinds here, I believe).

dronestreet, Monday, 4 April 2016 15:51 (one year ago) Permalink

i saw her open for grouper last year in san francisco, and it was the only experience i've had where the opening act blew me away with their live performance. the new album is excellent, a cornucopia of wondrous sound, and i'm excited to have it accompany my life in these next few spring and summer months.

j. winters (josh), Monday, 4 April 2016 15:58 (one year ago) Permalink

this is a gorgeous album

marcos, Monday, 4 April 2016 16:16 (one year ago) Permalink

btw, the vinyl copies were very affordable, Euclid is $15 on amazon including digital download. They seemed slightly lightweight, but sound fantastic.

Check Yr Scrobbles (Moodles), Monday, 4 April 2016 16:20 (one year ago) Permalink

EARS is fantastic, can't wait to see her open for the AC next month.

flappy bird, Monday, 4 April 2016 17:43 (one year ago) Permalink

this album is gorgeous and i love it. i wasn't going to say anything bc i have little to contribute beyond this but i wanted to annoy lj.

Mordy, Monday, 4 April 2016 20:29 (one year ago) Permalink

Yeah, I'm into this.

Hi! I'm twice-coloured! (Sund4r), Monday, 4 April 2016 21:38 (one year ago) Permalink

this is such a gift

1st Amendment absolutist in favor of the unltd publication of sextapes (schlump), Tuesday, 5 April 2016 00:22 (one year ago) Permalink

Shared this album with a couple friends the other day very loud on the home hifi. They kind of just sat back and just said "wow" once the first track finished. After the album was done, we looked at each other and wondered aloud how we were going to put on another album after this one.

octobeard, Tuesday, 5 April 2016 04:17 (one year ago) Permalink

so good. have been nerding out on modular stuff lately - but more the gear than the music being made by it - so to hear something come along like this and just blow you away is a welcome correction as much as anything else.

Justin Townes' URL (haitch), Tuesday, 5 April 2016 04:45 (one year ago) Permalink


get a long, little doggy (m bison), Tuesday, 5 April 2016 04:54 (one year ago) Permalink


Treeship, Tuesday, 5 April 2016 05:22 (one year ago) Permalink

i might prefer euclid to the new one tbh

marcos, Tuesday, 5 April 2016 14:13 (one year ago) Permalink

i do 2 but the new one is still wonderful

Mordy, Tuesday, 5 April 2016 14:15 (one year ago) Permalink

looking fw to seeing her live in NY soon. Put a song on this mix:


dan selzer, Tuesday, 5 April 2016 14:23 (one year ago) Permalink

imago was complaining about this in another thread so i checked it out and am loving it so far, thanks LJ! :)

rockpalast '82 (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 5 April 2016 15:50 (one year ago) Permalink


Treeship, Tuesday, 5 April 2016 15:54 (one year ago) Permalink

Bitterly at that. His loss!

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 5 April 2016 16:06 (one year ago) Permalink

seriously, I don't keep up with most new ilx threads, but I don't see how this record is particularly ILX-friendly. Maybe because the review compares it to Fever Ray/The Knife?

dan selzer, Tuesday, 5 April 2016 16:07 (one year ago) Permalink

My favorite syntho weirdos KAS and John Maus dropping albums in the same month? Love it.

octobeard, Saturday, 30 September 2017 01:12 (four months ago) Permalink

Looking forward to hearing this but damn she went from having an incredible album cover with EARS to having an absolute eyesore of a cover here

josh az (2011nostalgia), Saturday, 30 September 2017 02:20 (four months ago) Permalink

cover is dope imo, EARS cover was pretty sweet too

flappy bird, Saturday, 30 September 2017 03:04 (four months ago) Permalink

Mixed feelings listening to this. Which means I'll probably still be listening to it a year from now.

beard papa, Monday, 2 October 2017 22:58 (four months ago) Permalink

whoa! this record ROCKS

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Thursday, 5 October 2017 16:23 (four months ago) Permalink

It's astonishing

Evan R, Thursday, 5 October 2017 17:04 (four months ago) Permalink

This is even more florid and pastoral than EARS, like bits of it are like being in the main village in Zelda or something, but then she'll suddenly overturn it with an abrupt tonal shift or a rush of clanking noises. There's enough grit in there to prevent it becoming cloying - the difference between this and the new Four Tet in that regard.

Matt DC, Friday, 6 October 2017 09:25 (four months ago) Permalink

Her Baker's Dozen is pretty mellow:

ArchCarrier, Friday, 6 October 2017 10:39 (four months ago) Permalink

She did synths on the new Four Tet.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Friday, 6 October 2017 16:40 (four months ago) Permalink

Wow this new record is great. Her vocals kinda remind me of Grimes, especially on "A Kid."

flappy bird, Friday, 6 October 2017 18:23 (four months ago) Permalink

Is it all Buchla derived still?

Week of Wonders (Ross), Friday, 6 October 2017 19:05 (four months ago) Permalink

claire hamill in that baker's dozen! hell yeah!

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Friday, 6 October 2017 19:10 (four months ago) Permalink

Claire hamill absolutely rules. Big influence on grimes tko

Week of Wonders (Ross), Friday, 6 October 2017 19:10 (four months ago) Permalink

I'm pretty sure Buchla is the main synth on all of her stuff, but she throws in other synths as well.

Moodles, Friday, 6 October 2017 19:32 (four months ago) Permalink

I like that Claire hamill record a lot but I sure as fuck had to unfollow her twitter during the brexit vote

plp will eat itself (NickB), Friday, 6 October 2017 19:37 (four months ago) Permalink

also i think she ran as a tory councillor in the last council elections so y'know

plp will eat itself (NickB), Friday, 6 October 2017 20:00 (four months ago) Permalink

some of this KAS album feels like the brightness is turned up way too high but i love some of the less manic stuff - 'an intention' is definitely a favourite atm

plp will eat itself (NickB), Friday, 6 October 2017 21:35 (four months ago) Permalink

also lol at a track being called 'A Kid'

plp will eat itself (NickB), Friday, 6 October 2017 21:37 (four months ago) Permalink


alpine static, Saturday, 7 October 2017 07:27 (four months ago) Permalink

oh i was just amused at the thought of her devising her track titling scheme just so she could make a weak radiohead pun

plp will eat itself (NickB), Saturday, 7 October 2017 07:35 (four months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Short profile from Reynolds - https://www.villagevoice.com/2017/10/13/kaitlyn-aurelia-smith-and-the-secret-life-of-synths/

This FACT video is also great, I didn't check if it's been posted yet - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95UvPlhjbE4

The ascetic aspects of her practice, including everything before working with modular synths and releasing music, is pretty interesting. I guess it's easy to write it off as some hippie stuff, but actually think that's quite a superficial reaction. Seems to me that there's something deeper going on, there's something to her work that endorses a need to withdraw from the social to practice in order to exercise different capacities, to achieve a certain kind of mastery.

I dunno, I'm increasingly interested in these acts of withdrawal and imposing limits after years of internet and social media binging, and now culminating in the perpetual outrage of the alt-right and Trumpocalypse era...

MikoMcha, Tuesday, 24 October 2017 08:46 (three months ago) Permalink

Great video. What a view to work from!

flappy bird, Tuesday, 24 October 2017 16:34 (three months ago) Permalink

i thought that was a fantastic video. she presents her process in a way that is remarkably straightforward, compared to most musicians, even though what she's doing is insanely abstract on certain levels. i really admire that. she is so cool! i really liked the part about halfway through where she was talking about learning to operate and listen to the oscillators for the first time. i was also pleased that she seems to gel with my high school stoner observation that music biz legends beethoven/mozart/et al would likely be electronic musicians today. unless you're in the very unusual position of having the money and prestige to write compositions for orchestras, it is much more practical to DIY that shit with a synthesizer and get access to over 512 other sounds along the way

Currently (Karl Malone), Tuesday, 24 October 2017 16:59 (three months ago) Permalink

it's cheaper to rent an orchestra and orchestra hall than it is to build a buchla synthesizer set-up!

dan selzer, Tuesday, 24 October 2017 20:09 (three months ago) Permalink

haha, true with the buchla i guess (she acknowledges that it's super expensive somewhere in the video i think)! but in general it's pretty easy to create a permanent setup that lets you create pretty much any kind of noise for very little $

Currently (Karl Malone), Tuesday, 24 October 2017 20:24 (three months ago) Permalink

But again, I think it's the process of isolating herself for self-practice that's also interesting - the long process of training and experimentation. Obviously she's some kind of master now, but that came through an effort of cutting herself off from stuff, or striving towards another world rather than what's given...

MikoMcha, Wednesday, 25 October 2017 22:37 (three months ago) Permalink

You could say that about any number of artists obv. Not sure why I'm reflecting on it so much with her work. Very inspiring anyway.

MikoMcha, Wednesday, 25 October 2017 22:39 (three months ago) Permalink

Part of it may be that she seems more open about detailing her process than many electronic musicians.

Moodles, Wednesday, 25 October 2017 22:56 (three months ago) Permalink

more detailed than many artists, period. there's a lot to be said about maintaining a sense of mystery but i love it when someone finds it natural to talk about in a straightforward way (even if what the creative process they're trying to describe is not straightforward at all)

Currently (Karl Malone), Wednesday, 25 October 2017 23:01 (three months ago) Permalink

New one doesn't have the hooks the last one did, but the last four tracks ... damn. Combining that deep meditative ish with that lightness.

Uhura Mazda (lukas), Tuesday, 7 November 2017 18:41 (three months ago) Permalink

eh imo the hooks are way stronger this time around

i love this album

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Tuesday, 7 November 2017 18:46 (three months ago) Permalink

I really like this, but EARS was a bit stronger. My main complaint is that I could stand slightly less singing and more synth noodling. There are several tracks where her vocals work really well, but using the same harmonizer effect over and over gets a little tiresome.

Moodles, Tuesday, 7 November 2017 18:57 (three months ago) Permalink

Looking forward to seeing her perform in London tonight, stoked.

MikoMcha, Tuesday, 21 November 2017 16:54 (three months ago) Permalink

Her sound is wearing off on me. It felt so incredible and new on Euclid; then there were moments on EARS that I really relished. Now it's starting to feel like a cartoon. I am ready for her to take a hard left turn into something different.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Tuesday, 21 November 2017 20:58 (three months ago) Permalink

i am co-producing her next album, it is a modular synthesis tribute to tom jones

Men's Scarehouse - "You're gonna like the way you're shook." (m bison), Tuesday, 21 November 2017 21:02 (three months ago) Permalink

.... jesus christ y'all

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Tuesday, 21 November 2017 21:02 (three months ago) Permalink

that is on her christmas album

Men's Scarehouse - "You're gonna like the way you're shook." (m bison), Tuesday, 21 November 2017 21:03 (three months ago) Permalink

Agree with Pgwp: the textures and rhythms on this album sound amazing, but her singing gets tiring after a while, especially since is using the same filter that was on her previous two albums too, but even more. I still like Waves more than the next three albums because that vocal sound is too much, but I wish she'd make an instrumental synth album again, with the same craft and imagination she's managed to put into this one.

Tuomas, Tuesday, 21 November 2017 21:19 (three months ago) Permalink

Agree with Pgwp and Moodles, I mean.

Tuomas, Tuesday, 21 November 2017 21:19 (three months ago) Permalink

I like the vocals

Whiney G. Weingarten, Tuesday, 21 November 2017 22:08 (three months ago) Permalink

tuomas hates vocals shocker

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Tuesday, 21 November 2017 22:29 (three months ago) Permalink

I've nothing against vocals per se, but their range on Smith's last two albums is not that wide, and using the same filter on them without exception is tiring. I'd be saying the same if she was using the same synth sound on every track. And the two instrumental albums she's (co)produced sound great, so it's not like this is her only thing.

Tuomas, Wednesday, 22 November 2017 09:03 (three months ago) Permalink

Yeah, I would love to see her play live in a more jam context - something along the lines of the Sunergy record with Suzanne Ciani. But that said, the live show was pretty jaw-dropping amazing. Cyborg trance, channelling the cosmos territory with amazing bio-organic visuals. There's definitely hooks and strong melodies, certainly even songs, but this stuff is at times also close to mantras or chanting. And the vocals absolutely worked for the whole show, even more so than the album, I felt.

MikoMcha, Wednesday, 22 November 2017 10:21 (three months ago) Permalink

Four Tet remix of I Will Make Room For You is ace

i know kore-eda (or something), Wednesday, 22 November 2017 12:09 (three months ago) Permalink

it's cheaper to rent an orchestra and orchestra hall than it is to build a buchla synthesizer set-up!

This is true!

flamboyant goon tie included, Wednesday, 22 November 2017 18:00 (three months ago) Permalink

I was at the Scala show too - pretty astonishing. Has she done one of those "Ableton Live" type videos recently (or ever) where explains the gear she uses on stage and how the sounds are generated?

Hearing all the recent stuff end to end did however betray how samey some of the vocals are (and it doesn't help that a lot of the songs are in the same key). I want her to carry on with lyrics but I think a radical change of direction on the vocal front for the next record is called for.

Jeff W, Wednesday, 22 November 2017 18:29 (three months ago) Permalink

Played the new one at record club. https://devonrecordclub.com/2017/12/02/kaitlyn-aurelia-smith-a-kid-round-105-nicks-choice/

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Saturday, 2 December 2017 07:56 (two months ago) Permalink

Were you able to put on another record afterwards?

octobeard, Monday, 4 December 2017 22:07 (two months ago) Permalink


the late great, Tuesday, 5 December 2017 02:32 (two months ago) Permalink

haha, actually we did play this last I think, although not deliberately because of that!

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Tuesday, 5 December 2017 06:32 (two months ago) Permalink

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