2017 album. “…rich and rewarding…a gleaming sonic world…” Pitchfork // “…one of the most pioneering musicians in the world.” Dazed // “…an entrancing…playful, engaging, and often incredibly soothing synth odyssey…” Gorilla Vs. Bear //
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.
‘The Kid’ is a concept album, 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 4 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. 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 a 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 3 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 fulfil. 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 4’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 bitter sweet 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.