sun 19/09/2021

Edinburgh International Festival 2021: Anna Meredith | reviews, news & interviews

Edinburgh International Festival 2021: Anna Meredith

Edinburgh International Festival 2021: Anna Meredith

Undiluted maximalism from a true innovator

Anna Meredith: stratospheric levels of musical artistryJess Shurte

She’s an artist who’s impossible to define. Producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist, Anna Meredith has a musical mind that cannot keep still. Her latest studio album, Fibs, which was released in 2019, is a genre-defying blend of electronic and acoustic music, conceived with raw zeal, true artistic integrity, and a huge sense of fun.

Drawing mainly on material from that album, Meredith and her band performed a rousing set at Edinburgh International Festival’s custom-built venue at Edinburgh Park. Their visceral energy was tangible from the outset, Meredith furiously banging time on a drum. Though her latest work is rooted very much in electronic music, with a lot of synthesised sound, she’s got a particularly interesting instrumental set up with her band – electric guitar, drumkit, cello and tuba all add a depth of colour to her bombastic tracks, with Meredith herself sometimes adding clarinet. Anna Meredith (C) Jess ShurteOpening with soaring sirens screaming over a punchy drumbeat, the music is at once both angry and ambient. A slightly more relaxed track, "Moonmoons" for solo cello, features still, blurry cello lines over a twinkly synth part, but becomes more dark and foreboding as the piece moves on. "Paramore", the final track from Fibs, is full-on maximalism, with complex cross rhythms and a screaming guitar solo from Jack Ross.

Meredith tells the audience the atmosphere needs to be "raucous and fun" if they want an encore, otherwise what comes next will be far too embarrassing. We’re intrigued, and the crowd creates the biggest party atmosphere possible while still seated. (EIF is still taking Covid precautions very seriously, which is by no means a bad thing.)

If you do plan to see Meredith on her upcoming tour, stop reading now as it may ruin the surprise. A mad mash-up of Daniel Bedingfield, Abba, Carly Rae Jepsen and whatever band it was that had a hit in the noughties with "Maya Hi" [that was Moldova's own O-Zone – Ed] was a hilarious end to the evening, which showed that as well as displaying stratospheric levels of musical artistry, Meredith and her band were there to have fun too.

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