Right from Real - Part I EP
Arbutus - 2014
Lydia Ainsworth may be the latest signee to Montreal's uber-hip Arbutus label, but the Toronto-based electronic composer sure took a roundabout way of getting there. As a precocious child, Ainsworth got her start in the classical world at the Etobicoke School of the Arts. "They sent me home with a cello when I was ten," she told Noisey, "(but) I learned how to play myself, so my technique is all wrong." She would spend four years in New York, and it was there that her music career really started to take shape. "At NYU, I studied with this teacher named Joan La Barbara, who is a specialist in extended vocal techniques, and she really encouraged me to sing in my work. The moment when I actually started to perform, that was really the turning point for me."
In fact, the four songs on her debut EP, Right from Real - Part I, meld earnest classical elements like cello and violin with those more modern touchstones of percussion and electronics. The effect is mostly enthralling, a sort of updated version of Kate Bush's mid-eighties primitivism. The opener 'Candle' in particular is rife with the sort of quirky vocals and offbeat arrangements that made albums like The Dreaming and Hounds of Love such pure sensual pleasures. Elsewhere, the single 'Malachite', with its weirdly unsettling video references to the obscure seventies dance phenomenon known as waacking, showcases more of Ainsworth's vocal training, particularly those soaring operatic vocals. Apparently, Ainsworth is sitting on a cache of tunes, so here's hoping there is a Part II already in the works.
Stefan Christoff and Nick Schofield
Reves Sonores a Montreal
Howl! Arts Collective