One of the 21st century’s most consistently interesting electronic producers proves she has the capacity to amaze and astound
One of the 21st century’s most consistently interesting electronic producers, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith returns with an inventive release mixing orchestral grandeur with avant-garde electronica. The tracklist on Let’s Turn It Into Sound is a little misleading, as the wildly unpredictable progression of its songs evokes a series of kooky, unconnected vignettes. We see this from the first track, with Have You Felt Lately?’s stilted poetry giving way to layered vocal samples, snare drums that fire off as randomly as gunshots and a dreamy trip-hop groove – all in the space of four minutes.
Some of the record’s most enjoyable sections have a solid backbeat driving them, such as the fizzling drum machine hits of Is It Me Or Is It You? and the shuffling 4×4 groove that fills out Unbraid: The Merge’s second half, but these parts are the exception rather than the rule. Elsewhere the frolicking arpeggiator of Check Your Translation is easily cutesy enough to feature in a young child’s video game, while Let It Fall’s melodic leaps are so far from consonant that it approximates kitsch in its effect.
If much of the album is decidedly wacky and wide-eyed then Pivot Signal takes things in a more contemplative direction, where ascending brass motifs mark out their insistent quaver notes over a bed of arrhythmic, jittery orchestration. As the bass clarinet notes ooze sonorously, the sound is most reminiscent of Mouse On Mars and the more mellow tracks from their Ideology record, with electronic elements bleeding subtly into the mix.
A fair criticism might be that Let’s Turn It Into Sound is a little formless, reliant on the novelty of whizzing sounds and pomp-filled arrangements, but in the hands of Aurelia Smith these certainly have the capacity to amaze and astound.