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Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith EARS Western Vinyl

There are several fascinating videos of Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith using her prized vintage synth, a Buchla Music Easel, on YouTube. It’s tremendously interesting to watch her deftly moving the anonymous levers and knobs and layering them into something altogether lush, familiar and odd. This is how she made her kaleidoscopic album of last year, Euclid, and how she’s created her most recent LP, the warm and ethereal EARS.

Each song sets about its unfurling with an otherworldly grace, shivering into life with strange, layered rustlings that call to mind crystalline visions of interplanetary wanderings as well as the smallest gasps of the life on our own planet, before blooming into an hypnotic and irresistibly simple loop. Rare Things Grow uses a vast percussion section to teleport to a watery vista, a pricklingly alive cave might be the setting for Wetlands, and opener First Flight seems to shimmer with dew.

The warmth of the horns and Smith’s treated vocals inspire comparisons to Karin Dreijer Andersson’s work as part of the The Knife and Fever Ray, and though the lyrics are mostly indecipherable, they are made beautiful by their intonation and, thanks to their nonsensical quality, universality.

EARS sees the human, the organic, and the cosmic cast aloft together, spinning and enveloping – the world, illustrated as perfect and beautiful.