Electronic meditation with a twist
Self-proclaimed American synth whisperer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith reveals to people a new level of intimacy through electronic sounds, as she takes listeners on a wistful journey that showcases the profound impacts spirituality has had in her latest album, The Mosaic of Transformation. Being raised distant from the mainland United States, it is clear Smith holds Orcas Island close to her heart as she maintains a prevalent islander culture that radiates distinctly throughout her sound. Through the strategic use of modular synths, Smith converts organic noise into a peculiar mix of electronic bubbling sounds, providing her listeners with a fresh methodical take to her latest production.
Recently signed with Ghostly International, Smith released her eighth studio album, following in the footsteps of her previous 2019 album Tides: Music for Meditation and Yoga. However, it is clear in The Mosaic of Transformation that the artist takes on a more innovative approach to her techniques, using her favorite synthesizer, the Buchla Music Easel, to create an impactful overflow of electric pulses to the human ear.
This album is not just one of experimentation, but also displays immense spiritual growth for Smith as an artist, as she reveals to her fans the strategies behind the production of the record and how it came differently to her than her previous work. When speaking about the creation of this piece, Smith explains that the whole album came to her in a visual image through the process of mediation. She visualized the sounds in a somatic way, creating the goal behind her album: to bring the artwork to life through the use of bodily movements that perfectly coincide with her methods of creating a synchronic sound through the use of electronic circuits.
In fact, this is displayed in the album cover art, people can see Kaitlyn herself contorting her body into a pose that represents the flow of her music. Prior to the creation of this album, Smith worked with many teachers in yoga practice to train her body to move in the way she envisioned, in hopes of bringing the sounds out of her vision and into the physical realm. For example, in the making of “Carrying Gravity,” Smith worked with Sammy Dinneen, a professional hand-balancer, to create a seven-minute hand-balancing routine to coincide with the pre-released single, as well as providing routines that represent body physicality and flowing movements throughout each track.
Listeners hear this well in her third track, “Understanding Body Messages,” as the use of electric beeps and bells give listeners a peculiar feeling of the internal functions of their bodily movements pulsing inside. Smith thinks deep beyond human existence and strives to connect listeners back to the pure picture of meditation and the human body. The first track on the project, “Unbraiding Boundless Energy Within Boundaries,” introduces listeners to the spiritual journey they are about to undergo, intriguing them with an eccentric combination of noise between the introductory bongo-sounding drums and the electronic sounds similar to a horse call.
Smith continues to experiment with her vocals in the next track titled “Remembering,” revealing a new use of her voice as a sonic mantra-like background, repeating the lyrics: “Be kind to one another, we’re calming together.” Fans find this again in her more eccentric track, “The Steady Heart,” as she uses her vocals as an echo to mellow out, and she provides a hypnosis effect through the uneven rhythm of the orchestra. “I believe…I trust. Open up your heart,” she speaks, as the crescendos build throughout the beat. It is apparent that Smith has intentions of self-expression and love with this album, sending her listeners through her own personal journey of spirituality by providing them with peaceful subconscious messages and sonic undertones to unify humanity to its origins of peace through the listening of music.
The Mosaic of Transformation truly is a moving piece of artwork that brings listeners to either end of the spectrum of the electronic synthesizer meditation genre. As Smith explains in the album announcement, her movement practice has been a constant transformation piece by piece: “I made this album in the same way. Every day I would transform what I did yesterday… into something else. This album has gone through 12 different versions of itself.” Just as the album underwent a transformation, the listener will feel as if they are transforming with it through these nine tracks. Listeners will start in one place mentally and end up in others as the album progresses, following Smith on her journey through her swooning and romantic combination of electric circuits, orchestra, mallets and synthesizers.