“Art is awe, art is mystery expressed,” writes Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith. “Art is somatic, even if it is experienced cerebrally. It is felt.”
The central mysteries of Smith’s ninth studio album, Let’s Turn it Into Sound, have to do with perception, expression, and communication: How can we communicate when spoken language is inadequate? How do we understand what it is we’re feeling? How do we translate our experience of the world into something that someone else can understand?
For Smith, a self-described “feeler,” the answers are inspired by compound words in non-English languages, translation, sculptural fashion, dance, butoh, wushu shaolin, and other forms of sensory and somatic experience. Just like fashion uses lines, shapes, colors, textures, and silhouettes to communicate on a sensual level separate from the conscious mind, Let’s Turn it Into Sound strives to use sound to communicate what words alone cannot.
“The album is a puzzle,” Smith says. “[It] is a symbol of receiving a compound of a ton of feelings from going out into a situation, and the song titles are instructions to breaking apart the feelings and understanding them.” The energized “Is it Me or Is it You” comes from traversing the gaps between how you see yourself and how another might see you, through a filter of their own projections. The hushed sense of revelation that brackets “There is Something” refers to the feeling of walking into a room and being subconsciously aware of the dynamic present. All the while, Smith interprets these feelings through sound.