Canadian producer/singer/songwriter Lydia Ainsworth grew up immersed in both pop music and experimental classical sounds, her father a working musician and her mother a set designer. After completing a film scoring program, Ainsworth fleshed out rough ideas she'd been working on into her first album of minimal electronic songs with an experimental bent. Her sound grew increasingly conventional with each new release, growing into a polished, accessible take on dark pop with her third album, 2017's Phantom Forest.
Ainsworth developed her first solo recordings from audio sketches she made while enrolled at Montreal's McGill University. Splitting her time between Toronto and Brooklyn, Ainsworth recorded for years, drawing on her love of a wide variety of shadowy musical influences as well as her background in composing and orchestration to craft her tracks. A self-taught cellist, Ainsworth blended string arrangements and layers of vocal samples into her tunes, augmenting sparse, eerie electronic beats with walls of dense, Kate Bush-informed vocals. Her debut album, Right from Real, appeared in 2014 on Arbutus Records, the Canadian indie label that also serves as home for like-minded artists such as Grimes and Doldrums. Her second LP, Darling of the Afterglow, arrived on Arbutus and Bella Union in 2017, pushing more in the direction of familiar pop rhythms and song structures. Ainsworth toured extensively in support of the album, sharing bills with Perfume Genius along with headlining spots of her own. 2019's Phantom Forest continued in an even more mainstream pop direction, focusing on funky basslines and vocal harmonies more than the splintered, experimental feel of her earlier work. ~ Fred Thomas