Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith‘s musical background is as diverse as the songs you’ll hear on Euclid. Besides being a trained vocalist, she plays the piano, the classical guitar and has a fascination for modular synthesizers. She’s a trained vocalist, who plays the piano, classical guitar, and later on becomes fascinated with modular synthesizers. In 2010, she served ambient pop under the moniker Ever Isles, a project with Jeremy Robert Harris. She has worked with Suzanne Ciani and is currently composing music for an upcoming film by Benjamin Dickinson titled Brasilia: City of The Future.
Strange powers conjoin on Euclid. The album draws from Euclidean geometry and could be interpreted as a love letter to the Buchla Music Easel synthesizer. This is the instrument Smith used to write most of the material. Both properties share an esoteric quality that could put off the uninitiated. But that isn’t the case here. On Euclid, the “Modular Synth Sound Sculptress and Orchestral Composer” uses her powers for good to shape a hospitable world.
“Careen”, the album’s opener, is a slow mover. The track builds and grows to become a harmonious canvas made up of gentle percussion and tidbits guided by a string of fluid melodies. It’s an endearing and satisfying listen. The next song, “Wide Awake”, is more nervous, with Smith’s distorted voice and jagged electronics layered atop of a deep synth bass. Throughout the record Smith never oversteps herself. The math-inspired ideas never overshadow the uncomplicated nature of her compositions. She keeps things light and digestible. Only six of the eighteen songs reach the three-minute mark. Long enough to blossom into a kaleidoscopic dreamscape, like the album’s lead single “Sundry”.
Euclid‘s second half is a different beast composed of a series of Roman-numbered tracks. The contrast with the first six tracks is stark. Songs bleed into one another, creating a continuation lacking in the first half. The songs sound more rustic, but still transcendent and warped. Droning layers shape this mysterious alternate place. The enchantment is more contemplative than exultant. Smith herself describes it as: “Intended to feel like one is walking through a holographic labyrinth and encountering different experiences such as hang gliding, viewing microbes under a microscope, ice fishing in Alaska, and watching glaciers collapse.”
Yes, marvel is the guiding light throughout Smith’s colorful adventures. This is true in spirit and form. An interesting aspect of Smiths’ creations is how fundamental fragmentation is. Her songs find strength in their composite nature. While the music follows a structure which at times is hard to discern, she awards to each individual sound a place on the center stage. Sometimes only for a brief moment, often to shine and enforce a distinctive mood. It’s a strange waltz to witness, but one you wouldn’t want to miss.