PLAYLIST: Lydia Ainsworth’s Sounds of Nature

On the release day of her haunting Phantom Forest, the newly christened Angelino shares a nature-themed track list.

As the destruction of our natural world quickly becomes a more pressing issue, so too does it become a more prominent theme in media. If Annihilation was too abstract for you, and Leave No Trace never made it to your city, Weyes Blood, perhaps most notably, has got you covered with her most recent record, an optimist’s take on an imminent dystopia.

Although musically quite different, Lydia Ainsworth’s latest offering shares this sentiment—the new wave minimalism of the Los Angeles-via-Toronto songwriter’s third LP, Phantom Forest, explores the grim realities of nature and technology in an upbeat manner. With a voice not far descendent from Kate Bush, Ainsworth belts over synths glowing (“Diamonds Cutting Diamonds”), pulsing (“The Time”), or both (“Edge of the Throne”)—even enlisting S U R V I V E’s Kyle Dixon on a few numbers.

Yet K. Bush wasn’t the only wood nymph to inspire Phantom Forest. Ainsworth detailed a handful of her influences—from Dolly to Elton—in the brief playlist below.

Phantom Forest is out now.

1. Olivier Messiaen, “Catalogue d’oiseaux (Book 1)”

Messiaen mimics nature with mesmerizing originality.

2. Kate Bush, “The Sensual World”

Both song and music video embody the splendor of the natural world in technicolor sensorial bliss.

3. Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner, “Sounds of Nature”

Beautiful lyrics of a pastoral setting praising the sounds of nature come to life through Dolly’s voice that is sweeter than the sweetest swallow.

4. Joni Mitchell, “Big Yellow Taxi”

An upbeat sing-along about imminent ecological disaster. The best kind of sing-along.

5. Peter Gabriel, “Solsbury Hill”

My favorite 7/4 song. Nature used to metaphorically describe being prepared to lose what you have for what you might get. “Stepping out of the machinery.” When I listen to this song I imagine myself speeding through the air on a giant eagle’s back, Neverending Story style.  

6. Elton John, “Skyline Pigeon”

Another great bird song. I discovered this gem in the end credits of The Favourite. Lyrics by Bernie Taupin describe flying “towards the dreams you’ve left so very far behind.” A most beautifully painful chorus.

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