Pastoral synthesizer landscapist Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith broke out last year with Ears, an acclaimed set of Terry Riley-esque gurgles and flutters, using noise to evoke nature. On her sixth LP, The Kid, a concept album about the human life cycle, she paints an even lusher world using cosmic swoops, squelches and lots of her highly processed vocals. Sounds don’t align with the rhythms, and Smith’s voice is awash in alien echoes. But as challenging as this avant-garde music is, it’s also warm, absorbing and gorgeous.

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