Tag Archives: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

Album of the Day: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, “Tides”

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s Tides was initially released on Western Vinyl in 2014, but it’s only now that it’s getting a physical release via Smith’s own Touchtheplants imprint. Her label is “dedicated to the joy of storytelling and exploring the spirit through music and visual arts.” And appropriately, the nine tracks that comprise the album were originally commissioned for use in the yoga classes that Smith’s mother teaches. Every piece on Tides was composed and performed on a Buchla Music Easel, a modular synthesizer that has been utilized by musicians as varied as Sarah Davachi, Donnacha Costello, and David Rosenboom. While she’s always made synth-based music, Smith doesn’t aim for the cosmic epics or thrilling art pop of her recent albums here. Instead, she conjures up lambent ambient soundscapes that are as serene as they are delicate.

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The Merch Table: March 2018

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Every month, The Merch Table brings you the best and most bonkers merchandise you can find on Bandcamp. We commend bands and labels that get a little creative and think outside the tote bag. Whether it’s a fashion accessory, a piece of art, or something entirely unique, The Merch Table showcases inventive, original—and, occasionally, downright strange—stuff that you might want to get your hands on. Continue reading

The Best Electronic Albums of 2017

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Dark times call for music that’s strange, wonderful, and yes, even dark, and we’ve certainly been getting plenty of that in 2017’s club sounds. Sometimes, that means adding urgency to escapist music, and that’s OK. But there’s also been a huge drive towards music that transmits powerful messages, or contributes strongly to real-world community building. Dance culture has, at its best, provided voices for the voiceless, spaces for expression, and a level playing field for people who wouldnt’t otherwise meet to connect. As we adapt to the radically networked world, electronic music is finding new ways of expressing those principles. Continue reading

The Best Ambient Albums of 2017

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There are infinite atmospheric worlds available on Bandcamp, from the dreamy to the nightmarish, and the meditative to the deeply unsettling. These compositions often fall under the ambient umbrella, albums without words that are both thoughtful and thought-provoking in their own way. These are the Best Ambient Albums of 2017.

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The Best Albums of 2017: #20 – 1

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The wait is over. These are the 20 Best Albums of the year.

Last year, the Bandcamp Daily staff put together our first “Best Albums of the Year List,” 100 albums we felt defined 2016 for us. At the time I remember thinking, “This is tough, but it will probably get easier as the years go on.” Now, one year later, I’m realizing that I was wrong. The truth is, the world of Bandcamp is enormous, and it contains artists from all over the world, in every conceivable genre (including a few who exist in genres of their own invention), and at every stage of their career. The fact of the matter is, any list like this is going to fall short because, on Bandcamp, there is always more to discover. Right now, there’s probably someone in their bedroom in Buenos Aires, making a record on their computer that is going to end up on next year’s list. So as comprehensive as we’ve tried to make this list, we realize that, even at 100 albums, we’re only scratching the surface of what’s available. The albums that made this list, though, were the ones that stayed with us long after they were released—the ones we returned to again and again and found their pleasures undimmed, and their songs still rewarding. These are Bandcamp’s Best Albums of 2017.

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This Week’s Essential Releases: Afrobeat, Glam Pop, Experimental Synth & More

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Welcome to Seven Essential Releases, our weekly roundup of the best music on Bandcamp. Each week, we’ll recommend six new albums, plus pick an older LP from the stacks that you may have missed.

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Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith Finds Her Inner “Kid”

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Photos by Faith Silva.

When Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith woke up from nightmares as a kid, her mother would play her Enya to ease her back to sleep. She learned early in life how music could change the mood of a room, transform it from a dark place crawling with terrors to a safe cocoon. Even now, she’s comforted by hearing the music her parents would listen to when she was young—her mom’s Enya records, her dad’s Paul Simon records. “That’s one of the reasons I pursued making music,” she tells me over the phone from Los Angeles as she’s gearing up for a European tour. “I realized how much of a difference music made for me when I was younger. I could feel scared, but if I put on music, it would be different. I just loved that you could totally color your environment.”

Smith’s fascination with music’s energetic potential led her to learning ProTools at 16, and then to study classical guitar at Berklee College in Boston, and then to fall in love with the modular synthesizer system she still uses today. After graduating from college, Smith returned to her hometown of Orcas, Washington, an island in San Juan County with a population just under 5,000. There, a neighbor lent her a Buchla 100 synth, a rare analog instrument whose individually tunable keys allow for lots of customization and experimentation. The system enabled her to develop the vibrant, effervescent sound that’s become her hallmark on albums like 2015’s Euclid, 2016’s EARS, and this year’s forthcoming The Kid.

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Her most ebullient record to date, The Kid follows the narrative of a human life from birth until death, from innocence and solipsism to awareness of the broader world. Smith’s voice is more present than ever on the album, though like on her earlier work, it’s still filtered and shifted to better fit into the sparkling fabric she weaves with her synthesizers. While her singing can be heard through much of her recent music, Smith has never considered herself a vocalist—her voice is just another instrument she uses to manifest her ideas. “The name that I do resonate with is ‘composer,’” she says. “That for me encompasses all instruments, and just being excited about constantly changing with the medium I’m using. To me, a composer listens for what’s needed in the moment, what will be the right thing to bring out the right personality and the right quality to execute an intention behind a piece.”

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The Best Albums of 2016: #20 – 1

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Collage by Valentina Montagna.

If there’s one thing we learned since we launched Bandcamp Daily this past June, it’s that the world of Bandcamp is enormous—encompassing everything from emo in China to cumbia punk in Tucson, Arizona to just about everything in between. So narrowing our Best Albums of the Year down to 100 choices was a daunting task. Here, at last, are our Top 20 Albums of 2016.

More “Best of 2016”:
The Best Albums of 2016: #100 – 81
The Best Albums of 2016: #80 – 61
The Best Albums of 2016: #60 – 41
The Best Albums of 2016: #40 – 21

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