The Mosaic of Transformation
For some electronic musicians, sound is primarily a formal or aesthetic concern; for Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, it’s spiritual. The music she makes with her Buchla modular synthesizer is an extension of her yoga practice: a means of self-knowledge, a way of finding balance between mind, body, and the world around her. The Bolinas, California, musician calls the album “my expression of love and appreciation for electricity”—that is, an attempt to channel vibrations into a shape both resonant and meaningful. She composed the album as part of a daily practice of physical movement, and it shows: Unlike drone-based ambient, which puts its focus on static tones, The Mosaic of Transformation is awash in waves of motion, as layer upon layer of arpeggios and pads roll and crest and shift. It amounts to the most expressive and lyrical work of Smith’s career so far, and the most surprising, too. A short, burbling introduction gives way to gentle chants and string-quartet echoes in “Remembering”; the pointillist “Understanding Body Messages” leads to buoyant, mantra-like vocals and even actual drum beats in “The Steady Heart.” It all builds to an ecstatic finish in the form of “Expanding Electricity,” which weaves together ideas from across the spectrum: minimalism, contemporary classical, new age, even folk. “How can I help to serve you so you can do what you do?” she asks, sounding benevolent and beatific. It might be the voice of electricity itself, a current ready to carry us to another world.