Let's Turn It Into Sound

Let's Turn It Into Sound

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith is known for making meditative music—sometimes literally, in the case of her early album Tides: Music for Meditation and Yoga. But on Let’s Turn It Into Sound, the California synthesist takes a hard left, pressing pause on her most placid instincts and letting her playfulness take the reins. Though she continues to work with her beloved Buchla modular synthesizer, much of the album’s palette is built around her own voice, which she has distilled into gaseous pads and virtual choirs. But the most surprising development here might be the album’s focus on beats. The opening “Have You Felt Lately?” begins with an ambient invocation but quickly careens into bumpy, almost chaotic drum programming reminiscent of early-2000s IDM. “Locate” pairs squawking saxophone with a rollicking hip-house mutation, and both “Is it Me or is it You?” and “Unbraid: The Merge” evolve from lush arpeggios into surprisingly muscular dance grooves. It’s a bold new approach for Smith: an architectural sense of structure that makes the billowing motions of her bulbous, shape-shifting tones only that much more dynamic.

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