Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Kaitlyn Ayrelia Smith "The Kid" (2017)

Its an involved, vivid experience... zany, eccentric and astral, "The Kid" is wild ride through a tapestry of electronic quirks and swirling synthesizers reminiscent of Tangerine Dream, engulfed in an intelligent, synthetic Art Pop construct. I saw this release in a few lists, noticeably in some "Avant-garde" sections. Its American composer Kaitlyn's sixth full length in as many years with a consistent output that seems to be building steam among critics. Unfortunately I do not share their praise, for all its vivid intensity and use of marveling sounds, I found such sounds mostly novelty with little emotional cohesion between her voice and the accompanying journey through sounds. Some passageways have direction, a sense of rise and full but a large half load in a calamity of colliding sounds that don't visualize anything too obvious.

"An Intention" Is the one song where passion and emotion pervade in the instrumental which scales back its quirkiness and gives focus to Kaitlyn's synthesized voice, always heard through some mix of multi harmonized pitch shifting. The human robotic tone is utterly engrossing as words and sung notes sway between the two ends. Its atmosphere is mysterious, nocturnal and very akin to the Fever Ray self titled record, yet it has as greater freedom in its instrumental to explore as winds whoosh and alien organ synths gleam maddening melodies over the steady, slow murmuring bass kick.

Its the a rare time across all thirteen tracks that balance is achieved, for in most the other tracks her voice plays second fiddle to a swarm of quirky, adventurous, playful sounds exploiting the dimensional space of the listener with mysterious manipulations and smothering them in a dense web of intricate noises which mostly have little melodic value. It could be considered an "experimental" approach but it feels as if the point is missed. A lot of the synthesized noises, often imitating natural, jungle sounds, feel messy and unorganized, the result yielding little spark or pizzazz to get excited about beyond aesthetics. It has certainly been an interesting experience but its hard to enjoy what feels like a deliberate move away from convention when the convention clearly works wonders. There are plenty of fruitful ideas and interesting compositions here, to often do they seem to steer away intentionally.

Favorite Track: An Intention
Rating: 4/10