Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

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Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Reims Cartonerie, 26 March 2016
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Reims Cartonerie, 26 March 2016
Background information
Orcas Island, United States
  • Composer
  • producer
  • musician
  • Keyboard
  • voice
LabelsWestern Vinyl

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith is an American composer, performer and producer, originally from Orcas Island, Washington[1] and currently based in Los Angeles.[2] After several self-released albums, Smith was signed to independent record label Western Vinyl in 2015, which released her first official album, Euclid, in January 2015. Her latest album, The Mosaic of Transformation, was released in May 2020.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Smith grew up and was home-educated on Orcas Island, Northwestern Washington.[4] She left the island to study composition and sound engineering at Berklee College of Music in Boston, before returning to the island after her graduation.

Buchla 100 Series Synthesizer

It was after returning home that Smith discovered synthesizers, when a neighbor introduced her to the Buchla 100 Synthesizer.[5] Having originally intended to use her voice as her primary instrument,[6] and then moving to classical guitar and piano, Smith switched to the use of synthesizer after being lent and experimenting with the Buchla 100 for a year.[4]

Music development and style[edit]

Smith formed indie-folk band Ever Isles while still at Berklee[6] but left the project after discovering the Buchla 100, explaining, "I got so distracted and enamored with the process of making sounds with [the Buchla's potential] that I abandoned the next Ever Isles album".[6]

When developing her composition skills, Smith used visual aid as inspiration for her music. She has said that she is always composing to a visual in her head,[5] explaining, "Sometimes I let the sound create the image for me and then I build off that. Or vice versa: I come up with imagery that is inspiring to me, or I see something that is inspiring, and then create sounds that I feel match it".[2]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album title
2012 Cows Will Eat the Weeds
2012 Useful Trees
2014 Tides
2015 Euclid
2016 Ears
2017 The Kid
2019 Tides: Music for Meditation and Yoga
2020 The Mosaic of Transformation

Extended plays[edit]

Year Title
2012 Milk


Year Title
2012 "Swan"
2016 "Riparian"[7]


Year Title
2015 Bayonne - Spectrolite (Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith Remix)[8]
2015 Maestro - Darlin' Celsa (Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith Remix)
2016 Max Richter - Dream 3 (Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith Remix)
2016 The Field - Reflecting Lights (Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith Mix)[9]
2016 The Invisible - Love Me Again feat. Anna Calvi (Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith Mix)[10]
2016 D.D Dumbo - Walrus (Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith Mix)[11]
2017 Perfume Genius - Wreath (Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith Remix)

Original scores[edit]

  • Fortraits
  • DIY TV
  • Cabin Porn [12]
  • Reggie Watts - Brasilia City of the Future[13]
  • First People
  • Elf Help
  • Google - The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks[14]


Title Collaboration
Arthropoda (music video)[15] Melanie Lane
"Now:Now"[16] Mark Pritchard
Sunergy[17] Suzanne Ciani
BBC Radio 3 Late Junction Session[18] Greg Fox


Ears is Smith's fifth studio album and the second to be released by independent record label Western Vinyl. It was released on 1 April 2016.[19]


Ears was composed, recorded, arranged, produced and mixed by Smith. The record was mastered by Simon Heyworth.[1]

Buchla Music Easel

Instrumentation in the form of flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone and tenor saxophone were used in the recording of the LP, their parts being composed by Smith and performed by Rob Frye. Smith plays the Buchla Music Easel, EMS Synthi, ARP 2600, Oscar, Korg Mono/Poly, Electrocomp 101, and the Moog Werkstatt, as well as incorporating the use of her own voice.[20]

In describing the writing process for Ears, Smith has stated that "every single track started out as a song - and then I produced it and added woodwind parts, trying to blend my two worlds [orchestral compositions and songs].[2]" She has described Ears as a project where she "wanted it to feel like you're going through a sonic journey, like a 3D motion ride through a futuristic jungle".[21]

Track listing[edit]

No. Track Length
1 "First Flight" 4:38
2 "Wetlands" 3:35
3 "Envelop" 4:56
4 "When I Try, I'm Full" 3:56
5 "Rare Things Grow" 3:45
6 "Anthropoda" 3:37
7 "Stratus" 3:04
8 "Existence in the Unfurling" 11:08

Critical reception[edit]

Ears received an overwhelmingly positive response upon its release. Raymond Cummings of Spin Records suggested that the album "might be an ultimate track to the season",[22] whilst Clash (magazine) described the album as "...a stunning evocation of that decision [to trust in the subconscious], a magnificent aural topography of Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's inspired imagination".[23] The LP was also "album of the week" for online music store Bleep.com,[24] and Sammy Jones of Crack Magazine noted that Smith "sees the human, the organic, and the cosmic cast aloft together, spinning and enveloping - the world, illustrated as perfect and beautiful".[25] Upon its release, BBC Radio 6 Music's Mary Anne Hobbs played all twelve minutes of "Existence in the Unfurling" on her show.[26]

Ears featured heavily in 2016 end-of-year lists with mentions from several prominent online magazines, listed at #29 on Pitchfork's 50 Best Albums of 2016,[27] #14 on Resident Advisor's 20 Best Albums,[28] #30 on NPR Music's Best 50 Albums of 2016,[29] and chosen as Norman Records' Album of the Year 2016.[30] The track "Existence in the Unfurling" was placed at #70 on Pitchfork's 100 Best Songs of 2016,[30] while Ears was mentioned in Pitchfork's 20 Best Experimental Albums of 2016[31] (along with Kaitlyn's collaboration with Suzanne Ciani, Sunergy). Crack Magazine also cited Ears and Sunergy at #10 and #94, respectively, on their Top 100 Albums of the Year 2016.[32]


  1. ^ a b "WV | WV145". westernvinyl.com. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  2. ^ a b c "A Sensation of Breath: an Interview with Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith". AdHoc.fm. Archived from the original on 2017-10-07. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  3. ^ Minsker, Evan (March 12, 2020). "Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith Announces New Album, Shares New Song: Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's Existential Synthesizer Music". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  5. ^ a b "Interview: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Buchla Master". redbullmusicacademy.com. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  6. ^ a b c "Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - About". kaitlynaureliasmith.com. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  7. ^ Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith (2016-10-25), Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - Riparian, retrieved 2016-11-01
  8. ^ "Spectrolite (Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith Remix) by Bayonne". soundcloud.com. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  9. ^ "The Field - Reflecting Lights (Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith Mix)". soundcloud.com. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  10. ^ "Love Me Again feat. Anna Calvi (Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith Remix) by The Invisible". soundcloud.com.
  11. ^ D.D Dumbo (2016-09-28), D.D Dumbo - Walrus (Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith remix), retrieved 2016-10-31
  12. ^ "Cabin Porn Book Trailer". Vimeo. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  13. ^ "Brasilia from Reggie Watts on Vimeo". kaitlynaureliasmith.com. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  14. ^ "Explore The Hidden Worlds of our National Parks". Explore The Hidden Worlds of our National Parks. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  15. ^ KaitlynAureliaVEVO (2016-04-07), Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - Arthropoda, retrieved 2016-07-28
  16. ^ "Mark Pritchard and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith Share New Song "Now:Now": Listen". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  17. ^ "Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Suzanne Ciani collaborate on Sunergy for RVNG". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  18. ^ "Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Greg Fox In Session, Nick Luscombe with Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Greg Fox, Late Junction Sessions, Late Junction - BBC Radio 3". BBC. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  19. ^ "Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - EARS". Discogs. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  20. ^ "Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - Ears". www.textura.org. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  21. ^ "Driving a Spaceship Through Futuristic Jungles with Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith". PopMatters. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  22. ^ "Review: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, 'Ears' | SPIN". spin.com. 2016-03-28. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  23. ^ "Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - EARS". clashmusic.com. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  24. ^ Bleep. "Album Of The Week". Bleep. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  25. ^ "Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - EARS | Crack Magazine". crackmagazine.net. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  26. ^ "With Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Mary Anne Hobbs - BBC Radio 6 Music". BBC. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  27. ^ "The 50 Best Albums of 2016 - Page 3 | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  28. ^ "The 20 Best Experimental Albums of 2016 | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  29. ^ "Best 50 Albums of 2016". NPR. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  30. ^ a b "Norman Records: Albums of the Year 2016". normanrecords.com. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  31. ^ "The 20 Best Experimental Albums of 2016 | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  32. ^ "Albums Of The Year 2016". Crack Magazine. Retrieved 2016-12-15.

External links[edit]