Tanya Tagaq Anuraaqtuq

Tanya Tagaq's new disc captures an improvisational performance at the 26th Victoriaville Festival, featuring collaborations with two exceedingly noteworthy and versatile performers: Jean Martin and Jesse Zubot. Tagaq's visceral and intense, abstracted take on Inuit throat singing is woven through Martin's fluid percussion and electronic work, and Zubot's bold playing on violin and viola. Although rooted in Inuit traditional vocalization, Tagaq's vocals almost recall the strident cyclical singing of figures such as Damo Suzuki and Yoko Ono, both of whom are improvisers, but also share a similarly external relationship to improv. However, where Ono and Suzuki have a strong rock and even proto-punk orientations, Tagaq's vocal approach is more open-endedly primal, volatile even, interspersing delicate childlike melodies with emotive, sensuous cries, moans and thick, guttural croaks. Zubot and Martin provide a bed of glistening atmospherics and malevolent tremors while punctuating Tagaq's relentless flow with razor-sharp interjections and bursts of colour. While the group deliver novel and often-beautiful worlds of sound, it's easy to grow fatigued while listening. More solo instrumental passages from the band might have offered a nice counterpoint to grip one's attention throughout. Nonetheless, this project is well worth investigating. (Victo)