As if they had just stepped off the intergalactic spaceship that carried them to Northfield, Anna Meredith, donning a silver cape, led her similarly dressed entourage into Kracum Performance Center at Carleton College.
The world-renowned composer made the final stop of her tour right here in Minnesota, starting with the Distinguished Women Visitors Fund Talk Thursday afternoon, performing Friday night and concluding Saturday with a composition master class.
Opening with “Nautilus“, one the hottest tracks from her new album Varmints, the audience was catapulted into cinematic sounds of a chorus of horns driven by Tom Kelly’s tuba. “Nautilus” immediately set the tone for an unrelenting series of “genre-defying” songs.
Each song swept the audience along on waves of emotion. Frantic synthesizer and intense guitar solos by Jack Ross in “Shill” conveyed a sense of unease until Maddie Cutter soothed us with peaceful cello melodies and a captivatingly mellow synthesizer accompaniment in “Honeyed Words.”
Just as we thought the heavy driving synthesizer was never going to let up, the audience was lifted back up with light glockenspiel melodies underscored by a playful synthesizer. Reassuring vocals from the whole band, including drummer Sam Wilson, launched the concert into its crescendo. In “Something Helpful” and “Taken,” the tone turned from a futuristic soundtrack to a fun dance party.
A lively end to the concert was capped off with an unexpected cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” For an outfit sporting a tuba and a cello, a surprising but perfectly executed selection.
Anna Meredith has found a way to blend classic sounds with futuristic themes, and retro vibes with a modern composition in a genre I may begin referring to as “future classic.” Living up to the praise she has received from Pitchfork as “one of the most innovative minds in British music,” the conclusion to her US tour was an exhilarating showing at Kracum Performance Hall.
I eagerly await the next installment from Anna Meredith, reportedly coming out next year. Her endlessly creative aesthetic promises more supremely innovative sounds in the future.