The sun peaks through the leafy canopy above, pouring droplets of light onto the forest floor below. Flowers of every color begin to bloom as they’re kissed by the sunlight, and water starts to flow through the dry streams. Creatures chirp and buzz about as the warmth invades their slumber, filling the world with euphonious noise. You drop down from your tree branch, and let your feet carry you along a path that clears as you take each step . . .
The Buchla Music Easel is a mystifying instrument, capable of concocting lush, entrancing soundscapes via modular synthesis. It’s a piece of equipment that requires a large amount of time, effort, and loads of experimentation in order to get a grasp on its bountiful capabilities, making it predominantly off limits for many and an obsession for few. EARS is the newest full-length from LA-based singer/composer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith.
Rather than completely relying upon the colorful (figuratively and literally) synthesizer for the entire makeup of these compositions, Smith utilizes its looping arpeggios as backdrops for her aural canvasses containing organic classical instrumentation. The key ingredient here is Smith’s voice, effected and multiplied to create communal harmonies that mesmerize. It’s the sonic equivalent of exploring a vivid forest teeming with life.
Although Smith excels at drawing compelling sounds from her chosen instrument, the real feat is adapting those sounds to a format that’s enjoyable for those listeners that tend to avoid the experimental side of music. This is where she shines the brightest, as both an accomplished songwriter and an ambassador for this delightfully obscure piece of equipment. If you’re seeking lush, synthesized folk, this album is for you.