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Baker's Dozen

Northern Uproar: Tanya Tagaq's Favourite Albums
John Freeman , November 30th, 2016 10:06

With the release of her phenomenal new album, Retribution, the Inuit throat singer talks to John Freeman about the albums that make her laugh and cry. And laugh some more.


Miles Davis - On The Corner
I love this album, because sometime I feel scared when I listen to it and sometimes I am filled with wonderment. Sometimes I am laughing my ass of when I hear it. This album forces you into different areas of thought that you didn't necessarily know you could go to. Sometimes you don't want to go there, but On The Corner makes you go there anyway. The album is so reflective of what is happening with yourself – I have listened to that album alone, when it felt dark and kind of creepy. I have listened to it on a bright, sunny day, with people around and it has sounded very celebratory. I think the earmark of a fantastic piece of work is that it can act as a mirror to how you are feeling. Does Miles Davis' style influence the way you approach your music? To be totally honest, when I am doing my stuff, it is completely subliminal. Very little overthinking goes into my music – in terms of what we are doing and why we are doing it. I prefer art to be freeform. We spend so much time in our lives confined to certain patterns of thought. We have very little time outdoors and are so regulated, that I wanted one area of my life to be totally freeform and not controlled. I wanted my art to take me, as opposed to me taking it. So, I guess when I first heard this album, which was only a year or so ago, I did think "Oh shit, there are other people doing this stuff too" – because On The Corner sounds free. And this is a good example of an album that wasn't received well when it was released, but has become highly acclaimed with passing years. True art is always before its time. It is very hard to find art that is super popular and has much bearing on paving new ground. It is always something that isn't popular, that is paving the new ground. Poor Van Gogh, everyone hated his work and he lived his life in miserable poverty and now people pay millions of dollars for his art. He could have had a happy life – but then he made not have made great art. Maybe suffering and poverty does breed good art. Maybe after I am dead, people will like my music more [laughs].