Everyone witters on about the latest female singer-songwriter to plop off the major label production line but the truth is this: most of them sound the same. Weak re-treads of classic soul or classic folk or classic this or that. As a whole, people are more interested in how they look than whether they have anything to say, or any way to say it.
Please welcome, then, Elan Tamara, who genuinely sounds like no one else. Fascinated by Balinese Gamelan and Steve Reich, she makes music as uncategorisable, as heartfelt and beautifully otherworldly as anything you’re likely to hear. Over two EPs she has carved out a space so unique and unclassifiable that people have fallen back on namechecking other female artists with a distinctive aesthetic and outlook – Kate Bush, Bjork, Joanna Newsom and their ilk. Needless to say, she doesn’t sound like them, either.
Her third EP, her first with Big Dada, shows Tamara developing her songwriting craft to new heights. With a voice that can be smooth and calming or raging and hurt, Tamara pulls long vocal lines and next level harmonies over the syncopated minimalism of her piano playing. This base is augmented by the playing of her band. The whole is then stretched and moulded into new shapes by up-and-coming producer Kwes (DELS, The Invisible, The XX, and now of Warp Records). The result is some of the most exciting, individual music around, music which deserves and rewards repeated listens and signals the arrival of a major new talent. Listen…