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Tanya Tagaq: Animism

Crazy blend of styles produces formidable results.

With Björk holed up working on her upcoming project, a string of talented ladies have been queuing up to fill her quirky shoes.

Tanya Tagaq has sung with the innovative Icelander, and last year she scooped Canada’s esteemed Polaris Music Prize. She sings ‘clean’ and also with her throat, in a similar way to former Real World artists Shu-de Tuvan. Unlike them, Tagaq loops her otherworldly gasps and grunts to create layered harmonies that are punctuated by distorted electronics, wind instruments and screaming violins to create sounds that are sometimes beautiful and frequently unnerving. Her third studio album is her most coherent to date. Single Uja merges Bat For Lashes-styled tribal drums and electronica with her frenzied sounds. Then there’s the screeching Umingmak and the haunting partnership of Rabbit and Tulugak, which take the listener on an unforgettable journey through the Canadian wilderness. Opener Caribou is the wild card – while immaculately executed, this Pixies cover feels at odds with the rest of the album. Still, Animism is real, contemporary avant-garde – challenging, and packed full of surprises.