Recommended by Dave Segal
Yes, collaborating with Buchla-synth guru Suzanne Ciani on last year’s unconventionally inspirational Sunergy album proves Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s post-new-age mettle, but there’s more to her than that auspicious linkup. Smith has three other compelling full-lengths to her name, including 2015’s Euclid and 2016’s EARS. The former puts a fresh spin on ye olde analog-synth songcraft, its tracks beguiling with a phantasmal cuteness akin to Nobukazu Takemura’s and Midori Tanaka’s best work. On EARS, Smith manifests an unusual strain of aural peace in her compositions, pitched somewhere between Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece Co. and Emerald Web. So many musicians in this realm slacken into maudlin innocuousness, but Smith keeps her tones and atmospheres fizzing with conflict, never choosing the easy route to profundity and beauty.