Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Tanya Tagaq

  • Animism [Six Shooter, 2015] ***
  • Retribution [Six Shooter, 2016] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Animism [Six Shooter, 2015]
Inuit woman channels deep-nurtured throat-singing into sometimes startling, sometimes disturbing, sometimes merely arty avant-shamanism ("Caribou," "Umingmak") ***

Retribution [Six Shooter, 2016]
I don't normally have much use for apocalyptic shamanism, but with the normal denied anyone with a working understanding of the democratic promise, the most "accessible" release by this throat-singing Inuk performance artist is hitting the spot. Weird, disturbing, relentless, it arrays a Nirvana cover and a Shad rap and big drums and synthesizers squawking like gulls and men grunting like bears and more gutturals than a death metal album around the 41-year-old Tagaq breathing, murmuring, gasping, squealing, yelping, shrieking, chanting, incanting, reciting, lecturing, and, oh yeah, singing. It seemed historically suitable even before November 9, and since then I've been playing it loud. Inspirational Terrifying Ecology Lesson: "Once all the ice is melted, the once-covered ice area will heat up 81 times faster. There will be no stopping it. A new steady-state high-heat-tolerant life may, hopefully, rapidly evolve, but human civilization as we know it will no longer exist. Gaia likes it cold." A-

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