Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Anna Meredith

I've run across a couple of clips of music by Anna Meredith, a British composer, lately. My first impression was that it sounded like Vivaldi being mugged in an alley by members of Metallica. The first piece in the concert above doesn't stray far from that characterization! The second one, with shaky singing by the composer and the band, is quite different. She sort of sits in that odd zone between composition and song-writing which is, I guess, these days, not odd at all but almost the recommended place to be, from a career point of view at least.

I don't know what you think, you will let me know in the comments, but I actually found this listenable. The second piece, or song, reminded me of the Incredible String Band if they had had a tuba player.

I love her shirt.

I think...

The third piece, song, item, whatever, was also pretty interesting with a wildly divergent texture held together by one of the most frenetically difficult rhythm guitar parts I have ever heard. But interesting, no doubt. And original.

And they are undeniably having a lot of fun. Which makes it all more interesting, not less! Well, not the tuba player, of course. But the cellist is having an indecent amount of fun so it all balances out. Hell, I had fun!


Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

The vocals reminded me of a few Bjork albums I've picked up over the last twenty years. Definitely more Bjork than Beth Gibbons as vocal stylings go, but I am fine with either of those directions personally.

the tuba seemed to get a solid solo in on the third song. It wasn't all anchoring bass lines all the way through.

Tuba and guitar is an interesting combination to me. I can think of a duet for tuba and unamplified guitar that's online which I submit as a variation on a guitar-with-brass theme.


It "is" possible to have a duet for tuba and unamplified classical guitar if you find a capable brass player and the guitarist is willing to take a mainly backup role.

Bryan Townsend said...

Talking about tuba and guitar reminds me of the most awkward chamber music ensemble I ever played in. I used to go out with a bassoonist and we tried to play a concert together once, digging up an obscure piece for bassoon and guitar. Balance problems? You better believe it!

Jives said...

hmmmm....THe choice of instruments is great. There is a lot of good, spirited, raw material here, but it doesn't cohere for me. The first song was the best, I enjoyed the rhythmic re-casting of the opening lick, an effect that I reach for often. But don't tell me you weren't disappointed by the eventual emergence of the ubiquitous backbeat in the first song. The second one bored me and the third, well I don't think I'm going to get through that one.

My gripe is that raw material seems to be enough these days. What I'm hearing is a series of essentially undeveloped (loud) patterns, set into motion at various times, with no overarching message. Crashing through the cornfield instead of soaring over it. Feels like a bit of an endurance test. meh...

Bryan Townsend said...

I too was particularly struck by the way the entry of the drums in the first one reconfigured the whole metric structure. I love that kind of thing! I think I liked the third one more than you did for the way it sustained the complex texture. For me she sits on a line drawn between David Byrne and Steve Reich. But yes, lots of crashing through the cornfield, which is apparently what people like.