Anna Meredith: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

March 2, 2018 | Bob Boilen

Out of nearly 700 performances at the Tiny Desk, this is simply the most exhilarating one I’ve experienced. The instrumentation is unusual, with pulsing bass sounds produced by a wonderful combination of cello, tuba and electronics. It’s all rhythmically propelled by an astonishing drummer and Anna Meredith pounding a pair of floor toms. And much of the repetitive melody is keyboard-and-guitar-driven that morphs and erupt with earth-shaking fervor.

I first saw this British composer a year ago, in a stunning performance at the SXSW musical festival. It was one of the best concerts of my life. The music I heard sent me into a state of reverie. If music could levitate my body, this is how it would sound. It carried me away and thrilled my soul. I was giddy for days.

Now, I know this isn’t music for everyone. Lovers of classical music might shun it for its use of sequencers and electronics. The electronic world may wonder how the hell you could ever dance to this. Or for lovers of rock and hip-hop, its repetition and throbbing beats and bass might send you running and screaming into the distance. But if you know and love the music of Philip Glass, King Crimson or Steve Reich — music that’s electrifying, challenging and sonically soars and ripples through your body — then crank this up.

Anna Meredith was a former BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra Composer in Residence. The songs performed here come from her 2016 release called Varmints, which is where two of the three songs performed here can be found. It’s been a long while since a contemporary composer has captured my musical imagination. I hope and trust this will open many to a new way of thinking about what music is and what it can do.

SET LIST
“Nautilus”
“Ribbons”
“The Vapours”

MUSICIANS Anna Meredith , Jack Ross, Tom Kelly, Sam Wilson, Maddie Cutter


CREDITS Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern, Beck Harlan, Dani Lyman; Production Assistant: Joshua Bote; Photo: Eslah Attar/NPR.

Edinburgh International Festival: The 2021 line-up

Anna Meredith
Anna Meredith

Laura Mvula, Nadine Shah, Anna Meredith, Damon Albarn, Karine Polwart, Floating Points, Kathryn Joseph, Caribou and tUnE-yArDs are just some of the highlights from the eclectic lineup of music coming to Edinburgh as part of the International Festival

by Jamie Dunn | 02 Jun 2021
Oh, how we’ve missed the electricity and communal thrill of live performance. After over a year of empty stages, we’re tremendously excited to see the festivals and venues we love revealing their plans to make the tentative steps back to something close to normality. We’re particularly excited for Edinburgh to once again overflow with art with the return of the Edinburgh International Festival this summer, which is back with a global celebration of music, theatre and dance taking place 7-29 August.

“The programme we are announcing today represents a carefully organised return to live performance,” says Fergus Linehan, EIF’s director. “It is a collaborative effort between those who live in our city, our artists, the team at the festival, our donors and stakeholders and all who will be coming along to our performances.”

The Comet is Coming by Fabrice Bourgelle
The Comet is Coming by Fabrice Bourgelle

As ever, Linehan and his team will be bringing a world-class selection of work to the Scottish capital, with 170 performances announced this morning, covering everything from classical music and opera to star-studded theatre, dance and spoken word. We’re particularly excited about the eclectic contemporary music lineup, which features an enticing blend of brilliant Scottish artists alongside international talent.

Anna Meredith, Damon Albarn

First to catch the eye are two recent Scottish Album of the Year Award-winners and Skinny favourites: Anna Meredith and Kathryn Joseph. Meredith helped open EIF back in 2018 with the stunning audiovisual piece Five Telegrams, and the composer will be back again this year to perform music from her second album, FIBS. Meanwhile, Joseph will provide beautiful ballads from her debut Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled and its follow-up, From When I Wake the Want Is.

You’ll find more uber talented female voices on the bill with the soulful Laura Mvula, who’ll be bringing her brand of 80s new wave-inspired dance-pop, and Nadine Shah, who’ll be getting the chance to perform tracks from her fourth album, Kitchen Sink, in Scotland for the first time. Widely regarded as the voice of young African womanhood, Malian actress, musician and social activist Fatoumata Diawara, we’re told, will be tackling subjects such as “the pain of emigration, the struggles of African women and life under the rule of religious fundamentalists” with her first EIF performance.

Damon Albarn will be back at EIF this year accompanied by a band and string section. Expect performances of some of the iconic songs he’s recorded as part of Blur and Gorillaz, as well as from The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows, his current musical project inspired by the landscapes of Iceland, which he completed during lockdown and we’re tod explores “themes of fragility, emergence and rebirth”. And electronic music producer, DJ, and musician Sam Shepherd aka Floating Points will bring his euphoric live show to Edinburgh.

Folk, jazz, dance and trip-hop

Modern UK jazz will be well-represented at EIF this year with performances from KokorokoMoses Boyd and The Comet is Coming – the latter returning to Edinburgh with their explosive cosmic jazz rave. Scottish trad-heads, meanwhile, can look forward to Inverness-born fiddle player and composer Duncan Chisholm, Glasgow instrumental folk band RURA, instrumental trad trio Talisk, Gaelic supergroup Dàimh, all-female Scottish-English collective the Kinnaris Quintet, and Glasgow’s Breabach, who’ll be bringing their double bagpipes, Gaelic vocals and step dancing to EIF.

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Review: Anna Meredith – “Genre-bending bolts from the blue”

The brilliantly unpredictable composer is back making rollercoastering solo albums full of irreverent experiments and serious innovation

Not many musicians are made an MBE before they’ve released their second album, but Anna Meredith was given the honour this summer. Yet to frame the Scottish composer’s career in terms of solo records alone is rather misleading. The 41-year-old already had a storied career as a divisively experimental classical composer when she released her 2016 debut Varmints, an album whose synth-heavy confections were so maximalist and frenetic they often felt frighteningly unpredictable.

Since then, Meredith has continued her acclaimed work in the classical arena, as well as diversifying into film scores (she recently wrote the music for Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade). She is also back making solo albums, including the “most bangery pop pop” she reckons she’s ever created.

Fibs has much in common with Varmints – the rollercoastering instrumentals that thunder and squeal their way through wordless narratives; the more conventional vocal-centric tracks that recall the cutesier end of Britpop – but it feels lighter and brighter. Opener Sawbones arrives in an amusingly bombastic flurry of hammering, high-pitched disco synths; by the end it has settled somewhere between happy hardcore, a vintage horror film score and a fast-forwarded prog epic. On Inhale Exhale, Meredith sounds like a hybrid of Claire Grogan and Harriet Wheeler as she sings wry, sage lyrics over insistently pounding rave synths, while Killjoy’s jerky sophisti-pop is a kind of Everything Everything But The Girl.

The effect of all this incongruity is like a hundred bolts from the blue: Fibs is brimming with contrary combinations, irreverent genre-bending and serious innovation.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/0MUzevVErxLNFPU9tYQtJ0

Source: Anna Meredith: Fibs review – genre-bending bolts from the blue | Music | The Guardian

Anna Meredith: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

March 2, 2018 | Bob Boilen

Out of nearly 700 performances at the Tiny Desk, this is simply the most exhilarating one I’ve experienced. The instrumentation is unusual, with pulsing bass sounds produced by a wonderful combination of cello, tuba and electronics. It’s all rhythmically propelled by an astonishing drummer and Meredith pounding a pair of floor toms. And much of the repetitive melody is keyboard-and-guitar-driven that morphs and erupt with earth-shaking fervor.

I first saw this British composer a year ago, in a stunning performance at the SXSW musical festival. It was one of the best concerts of my life. The music I heard sent me into a state of reverie. If music could levitate my body, this is how it would sound. It carried me away and thrilled my soul. I was giddy for days.

Now, I know this isn’t music for everyone. Lovers of classical music might shun it for its use of sequencers and electronics. The electronic world may wonder how the hell you could ever dance to this. Or for lovers of rock and hip-hop, its repetition and throbbing beats and bass might send you running and screaming into the distance. But if you know and love the music of Philip Glass, King Crimson or Steve Reich — music that’s electrifying, challenging and sonically soars and ripples through your body — then crank this up.

Anna Meredith was a former BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra Composer in Residence. The songs performed here come from her 2016 release called Varmints, which is where two of the three songs performed here can be found. It’s been a long while since a contemporary composer has captured my musical imagination. I hope and trust this will open many to a new way of thinking about what music is and what it can do.

SET LIST
“Nautilus”
“Ribbons”
“The Vapours”

MUSICIANS Anna Meredith, Jack Ross, Tom Kelly, Sam Wilson, Maddie Cutter


CREDITS Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern, Beck Harlan, Dani Lyman; Production Assistant: Joshua Bote; Photo: Eslah Attar/NPR.