Published May 11, 2020The best way to first experience Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's The Mosaic of Transformation is in the sun, with eyes gently closed. As "Unbraiding Boundless Energy Within Boundaries" squeals and hums to life, allow your eyes to move beneath the lid, finding the grapefruit pinks and pulsing yellows above, the aquamarine below, the purples and reds that fill the corners. You'll likely find yourself both deeply relaxed and strangely energized – this is where Smith's music lives, between an energetic source and the action it feeds.
Smith has described her eighth studio album as an "expression of love and appreciation for electricity" – inspired by a daily practice of improvisatory movement, The Mosaic of Transformation burbles, bends and twirls in hypnotic cascades of sound. Where some music made on modular synthesizers embraces formlessness and drift, Smith's latest is defined by shape. Glowing baubles of tone, stacks of geometric rhythm, synth lines that curve and break into showers of diamonds – it's somehow both air-filled and dense, intricate structures of sound that can be passed through like vapour.
While each track can stand alone – the immediate highlights include the quivering, hallucinatory "Remembering" and swirling 10-minute closer "Expanding Electricity" – the album is best taken as a single, evolving piece. Voice, organ, wood blocks, string pads, vibraphone and sounds liquid and untraceable shift endlessly, a world of form that buzzes in your fingertips.
The Mosaic of Transformation is a generous record, a gift from Smith to those who need to lock into their body, to move quietly and deliberately. On "Expanding Electricity," a multi-tracked Smith asks "How can I help to serve you / So you can do what you do." With The Mosaic of Transformation, she's provided herself the answer. (Ghostly International)