Kinetic: Something Concerning Motion
Kinetic: Something Concerning Motion is the third compilation from Touchtheplants, the imprint and multidisciplinary creative environment founded by Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Sean Hellfritsch (aka Cool Maritime).
Each installment in the Smith-curated series features music made in response to a thematic prompt. 2020’s Breathing Instrumentals imagined respiratory rhythms, 2021’s Sound Wonders inspired sonic storytelling, and now Kinetic: Something Concerning Motion tunes into the energy generated through movement. The seven tracks — from some of today’s most exciting practitioners of experimental sound design, instrumentation, and synthesis — resonate, torque, and dazzle with vitality and texture, animating micro-worlds of dynamic motion and moments that course between serene and stimulating. Mindfully sequenced, Kinetic becomes a collective flow founded in the visceral power and delight of science and sound.
The set begins with “Let Us In,” a tender, minimalist composition from British producer and songwriter Elsa Hewit. She vocalizes the title phrase overtop bubbling synth, initiating a sense of anticipation, which washes into "But Can You Dance In Water?" by Montréal's Cedric Noel. The ripple gives way to a sustained drone before Noel enacts another flutter of aqueous activity. The ruminative “Vagalam,” rendered by French artist Clémence Quélennec, aka Aja, breathes slowly through synth tones, reaching an arpeggiated peak and winding back down again.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, who contributes the vivid, swirling instrumental “Clover,” also runs a creative process coaching program and held sessions with four of the artists featured: Aja, Salt Lake City composer Michael Wall, Chicago producer and drummer Nova Zaii, and South London-based modular synthesist S. Costa. The latter artist builds a bright and curious pattern across “Point Arena,” which evokes the pioneering patchwork of Laurie Spiegel. Zaii delivers the compilation’s most rhythmic exercise, “Fushia Major,” an effervescent fusion of jazzy synth solos and stuttering percussion. The set ends in the sprawl of Wall, whose talents as a composer for contemporary dance projects flourish fittingly here. “Lonely Ride Back To Parchman” unfurls on a trumpet call and the hushed murmur of piano keys, all climbing to an everything-at-once finish like the ensemble exhales of an orchestra, a proper conclusion for Kinetic.
– Dave Sutton
Available April 14th, 2023 on Bandcamp