Eschewing, in infectiously energetic fashion, the frequently held notion that composers are romantic geniuses sequestered in ivory towers, is sprightly Scot Anna Meredith. Elusively defying categorisation, she already has a rich history; as resident composer for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, writer for the London Sinfonietta, tutor to Goldie and exponent of an audacious piece for the Proms which saw the orchestra downing instruments and creating a sound collage from handclaps and vocal ticks. She’s harnessed the rigour of writing classical works and injected her skills into the sphere of electronica, culminating in a fantastic EP, ‘Black Prince Fury’.
She doesn’t view the opposing disciplines as dissimilar, “It’s still just controlling notes and rhythm…just a different medium”. The vehicle may indeed be new but she commands it like a master, creating dense idiosyncratic tracks such as the unnerving ‘Nautilis’, a ballyhoo of bellowing horns and adamant drums, and the impishly impenetrable ‘Never Wonder’ constructed from children’s instruments and an unusual sample of ‘The Power Of Love’; her work is dark and uncomfortable yet ultimately joyous.
Writing in an almost vacuum has lent her work purity; there aren’t too many disparate influences: “I get daunted or distracted,” she concedes. “It’s meant that anything I’ve written has been done without an awareness of fashion or other artists.” This honest approach is invigorating in the midst of what’s an often taciturn genre. Such refreshing humanity means she’s enjoying the process of constructing these tracks live. “It’s really exciting and yes, a bit scary, because it’s new.” But she’s all about the new, currently writing a recorder concerto, gestating another electronic EP and collaborating on an opera with the homeless. “It’s taken a lot of confidence to make this happen on my own terms” she says. We suspect a surfeit of talent and good humour may also be involved.
Words: Anna Wilson
Photgraphy: Cameron Alexander
WHAT: Dense downtempo electronica
GET 3 SONGS: Nautilis, Orca, Never Wonder
UNIQUE FACT: She worries about bothering her neighbours with crazy sounds whilst composing.
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