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Meredith Bates Takes a Violin to the Edge On her new LP, Tesseract,  Meredith Bates takes the violin to the very edge of its capabilities

Meredith Bates Takes a Violin to the Edge

On her new LP, Tesseract, Meredith Bates takes the violin to the very edge of its capabilities

by Toon Traveller, Travel Correspondent
first published: April, 2023

approximate reading time: minutes

when the violin steps out of the discord, pure and romantic above the confusion of destruction, abstraction, creation, it's the listener who picks the images, sounds, and senses...

Meredith Bates LP CoverMeredith Bates’ solo records have been described as painterly. Here are textures and colours barely discernibly determining figurative figures in swirls within. There's restless innovation to these soundscapes as Meredith walks an instrument, the violin, to the very edge of its capabilities. What you hear is the sound of an artist trepanning for gold. 

Embedded as musical director of the Vancouver Improvised Arts Society, an organisation dedicated to enhancing diversity of improvised arts in the city, much of Meredith’s musical performances are given over to collaborations across Vancouver's vibrant musical landscape. She has performed internationally too, and her debut solo LP, If Not Now, was an acclaimed epic of processed violin and viola, produced by Chris Gestrin for Phonometrograph Records.

Her second solo LP, Tesseract, will be available in June, also from Phonometrograph. Listening to Tendrils, the first track available to us, it’s clear that Meredith has lost not one beat in her desire to experiment with scraping, tearing, jagged, aggressive, playing, challenging our ears and melodic convention. Inhabiting the liminal space of invention and reinvention that say, Jimmy Page, or any heavy metal guitarist would beg to have thought of. The multiple layers offer something new, possibly deeper with each ensuing listen. 

Tesseract comfortably spreads itself over two CDs, with some compositions stretching to a radio unfriendly 40+ minutes. Some pieces are far shorter but no less ambitious.

And for sure at times it is a hard listen, but you gotta invest to gain. 

What Meredith promises with this first track is more wonderful plaintive, avant garde music, where ideas are given reign to fizz, to flash, snippets of sketches appear perhaps vague, as a notion, of notes, melodies, all suddenly woven as a whole. Stay with it and the reward of minimalist composition, of cables beating ships masts in the wind, cans rattling on cobbles may come to you too. This is music rich in imagery, echoes of urban streets, and native spirits, wind chimes to scare ghosts. Whose ghosts? Yours? Meredith’s? A docile and passive Nation? That's an intrigue here. But when the violin steps out of the discord, pure and romantic above the confusion of destruction, abstraction, creation, it's the listener who picks the images, sounds, and senses. It's then that the whole piece becomes as clear as a spring morning's sunrise. 

Tesseract is released in June, you can hear Tendrils now. It’s all a delightfully profound, tantalisingly magical affair.


Essential Information
Tesseract can be ordered on Bandcamp now⇒, available June 3rd.

Toon Traveller
Travel Correspondent

Born - happy family, school great mates still see 7 / 8 in year, degreed, beer n fun, work was lazy but usually happy, retired. Learning from mum and dads travel exploits.
about Toon Traveller »»

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