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ANIMISM

ANIMISM

“...delving far beyond personal utterance, out beyond human identity, to summon voices from the flesh cavity haunts of animal spirits and primal energies..."

This is a quote published in The Wire describing Tanya Tagaq's music, and it’s hard to disagree after listening to her latest release, Animism. The title itself is defined as the belief that souls or spirits exist within animals, plants and other natural phenomena. Tanya Tagaq's vocal style is rooted in traditional Inuit throat singing, which she uses to channel sounds that are beautiful and otherworldly. She also grunts, growls and screams to give the music a primeval energy that can be unnerving.

Animism opens with 'Caribou', which features a more conventional singing performance from Tagaq, the song’s majestic strings and propulsive beat showing similarities with Björk. The album soon takes a more experimental turn with the following tracks ‘Uja’ and ‘Umingmak’. Jarring electronic beats and sharp strings support Tagaq's primitive grunting. She has mentioned in interviews that her performances are improvised, injecting the music with an air of urgency and uncertainty.

It’s difficult to categorize Tanya Tagaq because she has taken a traditional form and crossed it with a hybrid of electronic, jazz and avant-garde music. This fusion leads to moments of stark beauty, such as ‘Rabbit’, but pieces like ‘Tulugak’ overstay their welcome. Tagaq should be praised for making music that is bold and singular, but because of its visceral quality it works better in a live setting.

by Now Then Sheffield