Described by synth virtuoso Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith as a puzzle, her latest full-length is a vivid projection of fractal electronics and bow-legged vocals.
In only a decade, Los Angeles-based composer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has ascended through the ranks to become one of the most recognizable figures in modern synthesizer music. Using the Buchla modular system she found thanks to an interest in Terry Riley's music, she made a wild left turn from her work in indie folk duo Ever Isles, eventually snagging a deal with Ghostly International and releasing a bunch of albums. This latest is her most assured yet, she fully leans into tweaky IDM-adjacent beats and lavishing them with crashing waves of modular froth and twisted electronically-assisted vocals.
The ghosts of Animal Collective still haunt her work, but Smith's indie leanings are stabilized by an appreciation of classic electronic music - from Suzanne Ciani (whom she collaborated with on 2016's "Sunergy") to Hiroshi Yoshimura. "Let's Turn it into Sound" is her weirdest set yet, and at its best even begins to nudge into similar sonic territory as Portland duo Visible Cloaks.
Much-hyped genre quirked duo Jockstrap excrete polite hybridized stage school dance-pop on their Pitchfork/NME/Guardian-approved debut.
There's a pervading air of perfection that hangs around "I Love You Jennifer B" worked to within an inch of its life, 'Neon' is almost brilliant: that Breeders guitar crunch + punk-not-punk mannered croon from Georgia Ellery and stage-managed distorted saturation just to remind you it's not mainstream.
If you've read the PR roll, you'll know that Jockstrap had assistance from an 18-piece orchestra, seeking to mimic the camp theatrics of Van Dyke Parks. Pop has often benefited from high level ambition, but where Joanna Newsom bent American music-hall tradition into bizarre and brilliant new shapes, Jockstrap sound like a hyperpop-era disco cover band on 'Greatest Hits'. The strings may as well have been sampled, and the crippling, algorithm-friendly nostalgia makes everything un-memorable.
By the time the album's finished you'll be craving some grot to rupture yr flesh a little. "I Love You Jennifer B" is so good it's bad. Frankly, it's what we deserve. God save the King etc.
Option Explore, Dylan Moon’s second full- length album, via RVNG Intl.
"Option Explore is a glassy-eyed survey of pop’s playing field both past and present, and a collection of clever, colorful songs filtered through frequencies, timbres, and dreams discovered and discarded while its maker shifts from one sub-genre to the next.
Option Explore signals a significant departure from Moon’s debut 2019 album Only the Blues, which at its heart is a folk record from the forlorn fringes of psychedelia: a little mysterious, but ultimately lucid in its internal logic and generous with standalone, but sing- along, songs. Dylan’s 2020 EP Oh No Oh No Oh No suggested both a shift in his writing and listening habits, culminating with the 2021 compilation Moon’s Toons Vol. 1. On Option Explore, Moon willfully spins multitudes. With a careful study of synthpop, a penchant for warped yet unwavering guitar grooves, and an effortless songwriting ability, he leans into unlikely convergences, and arrives at something deeply futuristic in its disregard for genre sanctity."