Like many projects conceived during our ongoing global pandemic, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Emile Mosseri, two accomplished friends and musicians in their own right, have chosen to create over long distances to deepen their friendship and explore different nuances in their own art. The resultant I could be your dog (Prequel) is an ambitious collection of seven songs of creepy, singing ambient music brimming with ideas.
Smith and Mosseri combine layers of gurgling synths and angelic vocals for a sublime cinematic effect. These carefully crafted tunes express an orchestral feel reminiscent of an intoxicating mix of Jessy Lanza collaborating with past generations of electronic pioneers such as Suzanne Ciani and Wendy Carlos. My senses rejoice at the airy and delicate soundscapes, but they are also delighted by the naturalistic sensations introduced by the duo, especially when chirping bird sounds enter the mix at various points on the album.
It would be reductive to attach adjectives like “dreamer” to these songs; yes, they feature sumptuous synth pads and curious chord progressions for a formidable effect. However, the tunes come to life with greater attention to the precise trills and flourishes that amplify the listening experience. The music possesses these fantastic lyrical qualities, thanks to the way Smith and Mosseri frame their melodic choices.
“Log in Your Fire” provides a resolute thesis statement for the entire album. Not only does it deliver the most direct lyrics and vocalizations, but the looping chord arpeggios engage in a curiously syncopated dance with a wobbly ensemble of bass pulses and snare claps. The title track features a panting falsetto by Mosseri singing atop a bed of Smith’s angelic oohs and ahs, before long warm synth notes straight out of TRON drift towards the horizon.
My favorite track on the album, “Glendora” is reminiscent of an intimate but distorted picnic in the woods, the kind you might feel if the soundtrack of Fancy could have more romantic connotations. “Moonweed” closes the first half of this affair with an enigmatic aplomb, thanks to acoustic piano figures and a bubbling background noise. The bass hand glows with moody growls while the melody hand delivers painfully sweet feelings in the upper register.
A haunting purpose underlies this whole project, especially the angst and drama of shy young lovers caught in a tenuous romance. However, he does not get lost in a nebulous dream, but rather caught in the fantasy of unfulfilled expectations. You don’t forget yourself in the pain of unfulfilled emotions; you gain a new perspective.
I could be your dog (Prequel) offers a host of very refined and defined movements, and it’s exciting to imagine what Smith and Mosseri deliver with Part Two. For all the floating sensations the album provides on first listen, giving in to the flow of music provides an opportunity to recognize that these talented creators want to take you somewhere. Ultimately, it is the genius and potential presented by ambient electronic music – the ability to merge the imagination with all manner of sounds to create unforgettable sound experiences that are both wide and narrow.