Electronic composer and Berklee College of Music graduate Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith follows up 2015’s Euclid with her third studio album, EARS, on Austin’s Western Vinyl. Just like on her previous releases, the Buchla synthesizer (discovering it was the reason Smith gave up her indie folk project Ever Isles) is at the heart of the album and accounts for its warm and vibrant feel. Yet, much more than on its predecessor, Smith weaves her own voice into the thickets of synths and webs of woodwinds.
Prominently layering higher and lower pitches and using reverb effects, her vocals adopt instrument-like textures. At times, they carry the song’s narrative – such as 'Existence in the Unfurling’ where they melt into rich saxophones. At other times, they emerge from organic soundscapes such as ‘Wetlands’ where filamentous strings and aquatic bubbles of electric piano notes paint nature-like environments. Ears could be the soundtrack to the enchanted landscapes of the Orcas Island on the US West Coast where Smith grew up and which evidently still inform and inspire her compositional process today.