This Thursday, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith went global for the live stream of her new album released this May, The Mosaic of Transformation, in its entirety. Broadcasted in three different time zones, the stream featured never-before-seen visual art from Sean Hellfritsch. Smith expressed her sadness for the lack of the live show scene during the pandemic:
“It has been challenging to accept that I may not play the live set I prepared for my most recent album for a long time…” She said. “Instead I have decided to create a virtual performance so it can still be shared. I’m sorry I can’t be there in person…live performance has always been such a special form of connection. I have hope that new ways of connecting will continue to grow.”
An immersive experience perfect for a wandering mind, this live stream was to be experienced with multiple senses. Much like peering through the end of a kaleidoscope, the entire show was shot with an overlay of abstract, shifting colors and shapes designed by Hellfritsch to match the complex layers of sounds created by Smith.
A lot of Smith’s inspiration comes from visual aid. Seeing imagery in her head while composing has had a huge influence on her sound: “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 can match that,” she says on her website.
The colors and shapes constructed by Hellfritsch helped convey the emotions found within her music. During “The Steady Heart,” people were welcomed with arpeggios of sweet short notes combined with the soft sweeping of her vocals until people reached a brief pause that launched them into an entanglement of overlapping elements. The first lyrics of the song are “I believe, I trust. Open up your heart.” As she sang and swept her hands across blinking buttons and keys, an abstract shape of outstretched arms pulsated like a beating heart on the screen. For Smith’s longest track, “Expanding Electricity,” which passes the ten minute mark, synthesizers and vibraphones collided as her ethereal voice faded in and out in the background. Mirrored, prismatic hues of fuchsia, deep blues and purples morphed together in abstract fluctuating designs.
A jack of all trades; a composer, performer and producer, Smith is known for her electronic meditative and tranquil sounds. She made use of her Buchla Music Easel synthesizer on her previous album released in 2019, Tides: Music For Meditation and Yoga. The album was created for her mother, a yoga instructor who wanted music to play during her yoga classes. Covering several interfaces at once for The Mosaic of Transformation, she flew from keys to buttons with a quickness and ease that was extremely impressive. Her tracks that are purely instrumental are captivating, and send just as many messages as those with lyrics. If one thinks about a physical mosaic in itself, it is a culmination of several colorful pieces that come together to create an image, whether that be distinguishable or abstract. Smith has a way of taking several strands of sound and tying them together in a way that people can feel each note separately, yet feel the whole sound all at once. Each track provides a sense of well-being, inner calmness and satisfaction.
A portion of all the proceeds collected for this show were donated towards supporting Black Trans Femmes in The Arts. People can still donate at this link.
Unbraiding Boundless Energy Within Boundaries
Understanding Body Messages
The Steady Heart
The Spine Is Quiet In The Center
Deepening The Flow Of