The modular synth sculptress explores her formative electronic influences
After a year in cryostasis the Synth Hero show returned to NTS radio last month with a spectacular one hour guest mix from Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, one of the most pioneering musicians in the world. In it the Modular Synth sculptress explored her love of the Buchla and the multitude of electronic composers who inspired Euclid, her new album on Western Vinyl. Featuring the likes of Mort Ganson, Suzanne Ciani and Cool Maritime, we asked Kaitlyn to talk us through each of her deep cuts. "When I can hear the human in electronic music I am inspired," she says. After listening to this mix, you will be too. The next Synth Hero show airs tonight at 7pm with a cosmic guest mix from Dutch beat master, James Zoo. Tune in!
Maggi Payne – "Gamelan" 0:00 - 2:59
For me, this piece evokes ASMR (Autonomous sensory meridian response) with its incredible high fidelity percussive elements and clean polyrhythms. It makes me feel like I am gently being slapped to wake up and pay attention.
Oskar Sala – "Concertando Rubato From Elektronische Tanzsuite" 3:00 - 4:56
Oskar Sala built an instrument called the Trautonium with Friedrich Trautwein. Though it is a monophonic instrument, it is incredibly complex. I am inspired by his ability to pull sophisticated and playful sounds out of it. I highly recommend looking up videos and pictures of this instrument.
Isao Tomita – "The Girl with the Flaxen Hair" 4:58 - 7:00
I really want to see a figure skating performance to this piece. It is earnest and cinematic. There are evocative subtle sounds in the background that provoke curiosity.
J.D. Emmanuel – "Part IV Expanding into the Universe" 7:04 - 9:11
This piece motivates a journey inward. Focused, reflective and introspective.
Hugh Le Caine – "Dripsody" 9:12 - 9:52
Analog synthesis sound design at its finest! I feel like I am getting to follow a drops journey down a drain.
Ray Lynch – "Celestial Soda Pop" 9:54 - 14:19
This piece makes me feel like I am in a montage! I like how clean and punctuated the rhythm is.
Harald Grosskopf – "Synthesist" 14:20 - 21: 52
I enjoy the mix of this piece, each sound seems to perfectly have its place in a bed of sounds.
Mort Garson – "Plantasia" 21:53 - 24: 33
I am inspired by the counterpoint and arrangement. It is orchestral in way the voices hand off the theme.
Suzanne Ciani – "Lixiviation" 24:34 - 28:40
So many incredible sounds, such beauty and complexity in the composition. I am also particularly fond of this piece because a lot of it was made with a Buchla 200.
David Behrman – "On the Other Ocean" 28:41 - 33:51
The way the swells and the harmonies line up with the portamento lines are so satisfying! It feels like each part is working hard and courteously to mould together and create something larger. I also appreciate the blending of acoustic instruments with electronic instruments.
Jurgen Muller – "Neeresbett Meditation" 33:56 - 36:55
His music feels timeless. Underwater pilgrimage.
Cool Maritime – "Gaze" 36:56 - 38:46
I love how this piece plays with tape delay. It sounds like colossal foot steps.
Donato Dozzy – "Vaporware 01" 38:47- 43:33
This reminds me of one my favourite traditional mbira songs. It always stops me in my tasks and I can only listen.
Terry Riley – "Rainbow in Curved Air" 43:45 - 48:14
I once read that TR would practice playing the same four fingers on the piano for months and months on end. I am inspired by his patience and discipline. Amazing counterpoint and sense of rhythm changing over time.
Suzanne Ciani - "The First Wave" 48:18 - 53:00
I am always excited by the rise and fall of melodic lines in this piece. It feels like you are riding a wind slide.
Laurie Spiegel – "Appalachain I" 53:04 - 55:36
The brightness of the tones in this piece massage my ears! I am very fond of composing on EML synthesizers. I love the filter on those synthesizers.
Clara Rockmore – "The Swan" 55:37 - 58:15
For the longest time I thought this was a human voice. I am very inspired by her ability to emote through such a complex electronic instrument.The dynamics are perfect.
Raymond Scott – "Sleepy Time" 58:17 - end
So playful. Whimsical. Perfect for drifting off into dreamtime.