24th April | IMAX
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith possesses an emotive power like no other. As her music recalls the sounds of rustling fauna and rippling streams, each intonation stirs up flurries of emotions. Given that the evening’s performance is within the vast scope of the IMAX, with each of Smith’s notes matched by iridescent, luminous visuals bubbling and glistening across the vast screen, it’s an impactful, sensory overload of pure, beautiful magnitude.
This is the second of two shows that she has played tonight. As part of the Bristol New Music festival, this must qualify as one of the highlights of the weekend. Smith’s vibrancy means that she shows no sign of flagging. You wonder how many shows she could play back-to-back, and just how many of these shows she could fill in a day.
As the harmonious swirls of ‘I Am a Thought’ permeate the room, sapphire crystal-like visuals sparkle on the screen in front of us. Instantly captivating, the breathtakingly beautiful and mesmeric audio-visual array transports us away and into Smith’s soundscapes.
Playing compositions from her most recent release, The Kid, the tracks, already imbued with such stunning vibrancy on record, take on even greater transcendental heights. There’s a visceral tangibility as Smith interweaves rich and ethereal intonations that are suspended in the air, and each tiny element of sound that she creates feels all-pervading and enduringly infinite before the next sonic embellishment chimes in.
Witnessing Smith’s creative magic in person is a joy. The way she combines deeply intricate and textured electronic layers with her soaring, warped vocals is utterly incredible. Recreating birdcalls on ‘Who I Am & Why I Am Where I Am’ alongside distorted electronic oscillations, she evokes this almost overwhelming sense of the sublime.
The full potency of her music elicits an emotional reaction akin to that of encountering the beauty of the natural world with a reverent sense of awe. And the stunning vivacity of the vivid, buoyant visuals only serves to augment this sense of wonderment as imagery darts and ripples before us with an enthralling intensity.
Finishing her set with ‘To Feel Your Best’, a track on which Smith pensively muses on transience, wistfully repeating the line, “I’m gonna wake up one day and you won’t exactly be there”, our time within this sonic cosmos she creates feels all too ephemeral. With the all-encompassing sensory experience etched into our very souls, the return to reality feels abruptly difficult to accept and leaves a lingering impression.