Toronto singer, songwriter, and producer Lydia Ainsworth has never ascribed to the usual process of creation — her music is filled with curious rhythmic structures and idiosyncratic melodies. But on her forthcoming record, Sparkles & Debris, which is due out May 21 from Zombie Cat Records, she veers from the more solitary aspects of her previous records in favor of something more organic and tactile. She recorded all the vocals for the new LP in the studio of her engineer/mixer Dajaun Martineau and had various musical collaborators come in and provide live instrumentation to accompany her array of samples and programming. The result doesn’t overhaul her electronic tendencies, but it does allow the sounds to move around a bit more and create some truly compelling landscapes.
On her newest single, “Cosmic Dust”, she deconstructs modern pop’s adoration of sweeping choruses and breathless revelations to create something intimate and emotionally viable. Her voice soars as it always has, and the glitchy nature of the atmospheres here provide an expansive territory for her to map out. The electronics bend and sigh at the edges of the track, while the inherent pop fluorescence adds a solid platform for her to explore themes of hope, history, and social inequities.
“We are simply dirt, water and air animated by the sun for a particle moment; we will all soon be gone,” says Ainsworth. “What is the legacy we leave behind if we keep hurting and devaluing other people’s existences? This song is about my hope for meaning beyond what feels like a nihilistic world order, one that turns a blind eye to injustice and abuse to each other and the planet.”
And through the pop movements of “Cosmic Dust”, Ainsworth provides room for all her questioning and hopes and fears to mingle and coalesce into a welcome emotional release. And she invites us to have a part in its cathartic throes, which, honestly, we need as much as she does.