Given that Tanya Tagaq has worked with the likes of Bjork, and is considered an inuit throat singer, it’s almost obvious that Polaris Music Prize winning album, Animism, her fourth to date, was going to be a little out there. Here then, is not an album in its traditional sense but a collaboration of repetitive vocal grunts, sighs, howls, rasps alongside organic and electronic instrumentation that pours in an out of the listeners ears before reaching its climax.
Songs like Uja with its aggressive distorted electronica and the almost fragile Tulugak are the best examples of this with monstrous tribal growls interweaved with hauntingly soft high pitched howls and minimal scratches and taps of instrumentation creating spine clawing sensations. While latest single, a cover of Pixies ‘Caribou’, is Animism’s most accessible track; exquisite orchestral violin work offset by grumbling bass and ‘real’ lyrics before skull crushing screams rip the song into its end.
Animism then feels like the anxiety forging twisted soundtrack to a fear wretching horror film with seemingly structureless songs of ghostly whispers whilst occassionally falling into a Joanna Newsom meets Battles ‘Mirrored’ era meets Tune Yards ideology with psychadelic folk melodies superseeded by repetitive rhythms both instrumentally and vocally being layered into a glorious battle of sound.
This leaves Animism as a conflict of a record, utterly captivating and all the same, excessively self indulgent. Why should you listen to this album? Because it’s interesting. But equally with very little to grasp onto this is very much a when the mood takes me release.
Tanya Tagaq’s Animism will be released via Six Shooter Records in the UK on January 26th.

By Craig Taylor-Broad

Craig is a photographer more than a writer which is strange because he used to spend a lot of time telling people that he was a jack of all trades and master of none.