PRINT December 2017

Music: Best of 2017

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

1 SOLANGE (FORM Arcosanti, Arizona, May 12) I was able to see Solange’s intimate performance at Paolo Soleri’s futurist commune; she was on a smaller stage than she normally performs on. It was perfect. Every part of it was perfect. The choreography was perfect.

Solange performing at FORM Arcosanti, Arizona, May 12, 2017. Photo: Jacqueline Verdugo.

2 VISIBLE CLOAKS, REASSEMBLAGE (RVNG Intl.) A beautiful album of soundscapes that is in constant rotation in my home. Visible Cloaks also posts really great DJ mixes online—my favorite is titled Fairlights, Mallets and Bamboo Vol. 2.

Cover of Visible Cloaks’ Reassemblage (RVNG Intl., 2017).

3 BULLION, ALL ABAWD (The Trilogy Tapes) I love this UK producer’s playful energy and use of vocals. A good album to start your day with and to keep you light on your feet.

4 PLAY IT AS IT LATHES W/ZACH COWIE, NTS RADIO Every mix is full of gems, always perfectly curated. Zach also runs Classic Album Sundays in Los Angeles, a series of hi-fi listening events for iconic records. Definitely recommend going to one!

5 GEINOH YAMASHIROGUMI, AKIRA (SYMPHONIC SUITE)(Milan) A reissue featuring one of my favorite composers, Shoji Yamashiro. An impeccable use of dynamics! I love everything this collective makes.

6 MIDORI TAKADA, THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (Palto Flats & WRWTFWW) Another reissue from an incredible Japanese composer—an album of meditative piano and vibraphone. Takada’s sensitive use of space lets the notes fully ring out.

Midori Takada performing at Flow Festival, Helsinki, August 12, 2017. Photo: Konstantin Kondrukhov.

7 MANAKA KATAOKA, YASUAKI IWATA, AND HAJIME WAKAI, THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD—SOUND SELECTION (Nintendo) The latest version of Zelda has a breathtaking score. A great listen at sunrise.

Still from the Nintendo video game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, 2017.

8 FOUR TET, NEW ENERGY (Text) Four Tet has always been such an inspiration to me—he writes such beautiful melodies. I love the pacing of this album. I have been listening to it while I do my evening stretches before bed.

9 PAULINE ANNA STROM, TRANS-MILLENIA MUSIC (RVNG Intl.) Pauline is a blind composer from the Bay Area who makes incredible unicorn-and-rainbow New Age music. This compilation is now a staple in my record collection. I love it so much.

Pauline Anna Strom, 2017. Photo: Aubrey Trinnaman.

10 DANIEL HART, A GHOST STORY (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) (Milan) I love the way this score builds, with its constant upward-downward pull, string swells, and breathy vocals.

David Lowery, A Ghost Story, 2017, 2K video, color, sound, 93 minutes.

West Coast composer, producer, and musician Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith creates dense, vibrant soundscapes using a variety of analog synthesizers. Her latest album, The Kid (Western Vinyl), explores the four stages of human life, and has received praise from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and NPR, among other media outlets. She lives and works in Los Angeles.