Anna Meredith – Discuss

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?

35 thoughts on “Anna Meredith – Discuss

  1. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve heard from her on 6Music. There is an interesting amount of classical/electronica music around. I especially like Nils Frahm and A Winged Victory For The Sullen, and I’ve heard some interesting arrangements of Squarepusher’s music for a chamber orchestra. That was also on Mary Anne Hobbs’ show. There is a Guardian review too – – which dates back to 2004.

  2. I was actually going to do a post about female electronica which was inspired by this article: airplay Carole Bristol’s suggestion is great. I’d add Suzanne Ciani, Roseau, Daphne Oram, Olga Bell, Holly Herndon, Sarah Neufeld, Noveller, Fatima Qadiri, Jessy Lanza, Ryat, SØS Gunver Ryberg. I don’t have anything by SGR but I can mp3 stuff by all the others. They’re the weird sounds I’ve been listening to for a few months…

    Of course, my interest was started by Delia Derbyshire and Annette Peacock. Oh, and here’s a playlist I did a couple of months back that features some of those artists:

    • Wow lots for me to look up there. Thanks very much. It would be great if you could stick a playlist up or write your post to go with the playlist…?! 😉🎶🎵🎼

      • Last week it was still snowing. Today it’s nearly 20 celsius and the sun’s made everyone hedonistic. Been having fun by the riverside and now I’m going back for more. 😀 In other words, playlist but no commentary.

      • Ah sorry, Paul, I was reading your first comment on my phone which didn’t show the playlist. Am listening now…river sounds a lot of fun!

    • Have you heard Noveller’s latest album? I’ve got all her others (I think!), but haven’t got round to the new one yet

      • I have Fantastic Planet but not heard the new one yet. Thanks for the Sapphire Slows recommend – I’m listening to Animal Dreams right now and I love it, especially the sections where it’s like Burial but with a soft focus.

    • That article is really interesting; I’ve read other pieces about stuff like that. In fact the Americana discuss topic threw up a similar issue in Country music circles.
      To the playlist; that’s a proper mix. Some artists I was aware of but the vast majority is new to me. The NiNa KraViZ is a bit ummmm….well, let’s just say, I listened to that shortly before your hedonism playlist. Not really midday listening/watching. Put it this way, I think there’s hope yet for my twerking career after watching Femme En Fourrure. I see you stuck a bit of Powersolo on there too…

      • The hedonism playlist is… well, er… yeah! I love the FEF outrage when people discover the twerking is being done by trans men. If you ever get the chance, go and see Powersolo – fun.

        The article is great because of the way it uses the research and shows how gender affects airplay and headlining at festivals. Even hip festivals like Flow have a bias towards men, though the majority of the DJs this year seem to be female. 😀

        Gender matters, so I make sure my daughter gets to see women creating and pioneering – she responds to the positive images.

    • You haven’t got any of be this on a Spotify playlist by any chance? About by to do some gardening and wanted to listen while I work…

    • Thanks for this shane. I listened to it all today – not the full hour of Kemistry & Storm admittedly. Delia Derbyshire is genius, what a woman. The Pauline Oliveros really intrigued me too, I’ve never come across her, absolutely fascinating. The Leila Arab was one of my favourites of the bunch. I now have a playlist stuffed with other things to listen to; other tracks by the artists you chose here.

      • I’m not really getting the time for RR or songbar themes (even though I don’t go on there – I still do a weekly playlist) – but I’m finding your posts on here and the suggestions from everyone thrilling – so much music that I’d forgottn about or filed away being resurrected. It feels like a deeper look into record collections rather than a more traditional ‘great track’ that fits a theme.

        The Wheel of Your Tune has got me looking in piles of CDs – my least favorite format – so unless I’ve ripped them – they get little play, as well as records or on the computer, but it makes it very interesting to be restricted to just a track number. Putting them together is so much fun.

        Long winded way of saying: thank you…

        …and a thank you to Ali for keeping it all going during the lean year of the RR exit.

        • Donds for the shout out to Ali. She really has been a superstar for keeping things afloat. It feels really positive around here at the moment.

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