Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s remix of Roger Goula Pale Blue Dot makes me think “Why can’t she remix everything?”
Ok Roger Goula’s debut album Overview Effect is one of the albums of the year. Let’s not argue about this. It really is. Throughout its duration it mixes beautiful classic motifs with ugly electronic phases, then switches it, goes back to the original formula and then does whatever it wants. It’s a brave album that gets better with every listen, like all the best albums do. If you haven’t heard it, I implore you to do so.
Overview Effect is based on the psychological shift in awareness of astronauts viewing the Earth from orbit. Goula was inspired by the experience of looking at the Earth as it is in space, a small blue and green ball and how it transforms astronaut’s understanding of what it means to inhabit this fragile, yet strangely durable world. He explains it thus “The idea of a psychological shift of how we see our home – the Earth – interested me enormously as the central theme for this project, particularly the concept of a psychological journey. This focal point gave me a huge amount of inspiration from which to generate musical ideas that would develop to eventually become this album. Having internalised the idea of the overview effect, I began to sketch compositions for the album, using the concept to guide the material.”
But this isn’t a review of the album, this is all about Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s remix of Pale Blue Dot. For those of you who are unaware Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith is an American composure who uses analogue synths and keyboards to create lurid soundscapes that conjure up the past while bridging the gap to the present. Imagine if Wendy Carlos had started making drone in the 1970’s and you’re on the right tracks. Last year’s Euclid was full of delicate motifs and inventive ideas and this year’s Ears surpasses it. But Smith’s remix of Pale Blue Dot is something different all together. It takes the structure of the original, but fleshes it out with vocals chants and droney synths that resemble a bootleg of Philip Glass’s Koyaanisqatsi soundtrack with The Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir. The only real downside with this remix is that it eclipses the original. In fact when I played the original after a hour of listening to Smith’s work, I find myself enjoying it less that I did 24 hour before.
Overview Effect is out now through Cognitive Shift