|Smith, Kaitlyn Aurelia / Kid, The|
|Add Date:||2018-01-15|| ||Pull Date:||2018-03-19|| ||Charts:||Classical/Experimental|
|Week Ending:||18 Feb||4 Feb||28 Jan|
Synthesizer sorceress Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith follows up her breakout album, EARS, with The Kid. This one’s purportedly traces the growth of a person from childhood to old age; that said, it’s difficult to parse this theme with the often less-than-audible vocals. Smith crafts a lush and subtle sonic environment, like if she’d been tasked to soundtrack Planet Earth with a synthesizer. For this reason, it’s better to listen to the album in one sitting and not pay too much attention to where one song ends and another begins—something which doesn’t make for a good album review. Listening to this album on a song-by-song basis, it feels redundant at times and lacks immediacy, like a slow burn that never catches fire. But when the highlights emerge—especially the album’s conclusion—they can take your breath away.|
Favorites: 2, 6, 8, 13
1) “I Am a Thought” (1:54) – Bubbly instrumental that sounds both natural and mechanical. I’ll bet this sounds amazing when stoned.
2) “An Intention” (4:01)* – The instrumental is a subtle electronic throb with some washes of synthesizer. Smith’s processed vocals are more prominent than on other songs.
3) “A Kid” (5:04) – The percussion on this song sounds like something you’d hear in world music—almost like it’s tribal. The song changes shape in the second half, incorporating vocals and more electronic elements.
4) “In the World” (3:01) – After about a minute of a strange, pastoral sonic environment, the mood shifts and vocals enter. Very similar to the previous song in execution, though not in sound. (More exciting, in my less-than-humble opinion.)
5) “I Am Consumed” (0:55) – Short, twinkling electronic instrumental.
6) “In a World, But Not of the World” (3:57)* – Brisk music with clickety-clackety percussion. Sounds almost like footwork or techno—something Björk would do. Unlike “A Kid” or “In the World,” this track doesn’t have a long introduction before the vocals.
7) “I Am Learning” (3:16) – Like “A Kid,” this song sounds like a mix of world music-inspired sounds and warm, analog electronic elements. Smith’s repeated lyrics are difficult to make out; in fact, they’re borderline nonsensical.
8) “To Follow & Lead” (4:48)* – A subtler, more vocal-centric track in the vein of “An Intention.” This song is probably the best fusion of aqueous electronics and organic, world music sounds.
9) “Until I Remember” (4:24) – Very similar to “I Am Learning.” In fact, if you put these songs on shuffle I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. Let’s pretend they’re the same song.
10) “Who I Am & Why I Am Where I Am” (5:21) – A long, slow-burning instrumental that’s really not worth your time. It’s content to spend nearly five and a half minutes on simmer without ever boiling over into something more exciting.
11) “I Am Curious, I Care” (3:45) – Drifting and ponderous first minute and a half, with synthesized strings floating along the bottom of the song. After a sudden change of pace for about thirty seconds before spiraling off into even more drifting and ponderous territory—this time with synthesized horns instead.
12) “I Will Make Room for You” (4:59) – After a minute and a half of instrumental, Smith begins singing over herself. Her clipped, disembodied vocalizations get used like another instrument, and it’s weird until they stop. Otherwise it’s another number that just floats along without much structure.
13) “To Feel Your Best” (6:20)* – Given how unremarkable some of the other tracks were, this one could’ve been an indulgent mess. I’m pleased to report that it isn’t. Here, Smith is able to leverage the song’s slow pace into gravity, drowning the listener in smooth vocals and lush waves of electronic sound. It’s a beautiful tune, one worth sitting through the rest of the album for. (Song fades to silence after the six-minute mark.)