Anna Meredith’s first full length album has been championed by DJ Mary-Anne Hobbs for a long time. MAH was playing tracks from Varmints on BBC 6 Music back when it was first released last year. I’d heard none of Meredith’s previous work – if it was ever played on national radio, I never heard it. She is well known in hipper classical circles though: first and foremost she is a composer.
I’m not really sure how to categorise Varmints; I guess it’s electronica, but at the meaty end of the scale. It’s energetic and almost demented in places. She uses horns and synth drums to great affect, creating soaring atmospherics racing along at light speed. Listen to the repetitive beat of the track R-Type and imagine careering along at pace on a train. Some of the tracks on the album have vocals and provide a calm respite to the manic feel of the tracks surrounding them. I particularly like Nautilus and The Vapours on the Varmints album, although all of it is good. Anna’s earlier releases are also captivating; there’s an interesting cover of an Erasure track on one of her EPs.
The other week Shane mentioned Emily Wells in the comments of another post – she is a pretty awesome new find. They are sort of comparable and yet not similar at all – Emily sings on many of her tracks. It got me wondering about who else is out there pushing the boundaries of classical music and electronica. I know plenty already, but it would be good to hear of more.
I am also drawn to this album because “varmints” is a word my sister loves and has used it to describe all the children in the family at some point or other.
Yet again ‘Spillers I come to you to fill in the gaps in my musical knowledge. What can you tell me about all this and who else should I be tracking down?