Scotland’s Anna Meredith has made a career of mapping original orchestral works and understated sonic masterpieces, handcrafted with elements of both the electronic and acoustic music worlds. The sound has been described as Technicolor maximalism, and Meredith’s art pop-psychedelic hybrid is like an aural Spirograph casting out giddy multicolored synchronicities, repeating off one another in varying luminescent light.
The Guardian decreed Meredith’s works to be “majestic bangers.” Those bangers have blasted from broadcast systems at clubs and festivals, they’ve been dialed in from the stages of concert halls, they’ve been cleverly nestled into Apple ads and turned heads at art installations.
It’s all in a day’s work for Meredith, who was recently awarded an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for services to music. She’s also been recognized as a composer in residence with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the RPS/PRS Composer in the House with Sinfonia ViVA.
It didn’t happen overnight. For the first fifteen years of her music career, Meredith made a living composing music for orchestras and operas, symphonies and string quartets. She also accepted commissioned work for operas and haute-couture affairs. And, in the process, she was making a name for herself.
Eventually she released glimpses of what material under her own name would sound like: the “Black Prince Fury” and “Jet Black Raider” EPs, released in 2012 and 2013 by London’s Moshi Moshi Records. They were encouraging, critical successes that demonstrated a changing palette in real time. While “Black Prince Fury” was created entirely with synthesizers, her second EP introduced instruments like cello and clarinet.
Meredith’s debut album, “Varmints,” released in 2016, was stacked with nods—intended or not—to electronic pioneers like Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream. Meredith nevertheless honed in on intensely emotional and reflective works. What’s more, there’s a playful, creative vibe at work: not unlike that of experimental contemporary-classical peers like Eyvind Kang.
She followed that album in 2018 with “Anno,” a collaboration with her sister Eleanor and the Scottish Ensemble, a smashing integration of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” with Anna’s own mesmerizing electronic flourishes.
Just last year she released “FIBS,” a proper sophomore album by technicality only. By the time that project wrapped, Meredith was already scoring forthcoming episodes of the Paul Rudd Netflix comedy series “Living With Yourself.” “It’s been really busy, bang-bang-bang, writing constantly,” she says of the past three years. Thankfully for us, she’s also accommodating tour dates to celebrate the new tracks in concert.
March 15, 7:30pm, 10:30pm at Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219-21 South Morgan, (773)823-9702. $15
UPDATE: The show has been canceled.
Bill Furbee is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in Cincinnati CityBeat, Detroit Metro Times, No Depression, Ghettoblaster, American Libraries magazine and other publications. He’s also a frequent contributor to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and a board member of the Cincinnati Music Heritage Foundation, and enjoys repairing pinball machines in his time off.