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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.

Natasha Scharf
Natasha Scharf

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.