Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, better known by her stage name M.I.A., has reiterated in several interviews that the making and release of her newest album, Matangi, was a long and contentious process, emerging among the fallout of custody battles with the father of her child and the NFL. Theoretically, though it is the second album bearing her own name, M.I.A. contends that the title is an ode to the Hindu Matangi- a tantric incarnation of the goddess Maa Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, wisdom, speech, the arts, and music. As she is not a mainstream deity, she is worshiped in unconventional ways- after eating as opposed to before, and with food that has already been tasted. Perhaps this album is M.I.A.'s unconventional form of worship, as it is certainly laden with references to Hinduism. It is peppered with brief clips of rich harmonium and harps in homage to traditional devotional tunes. The album also opens with M.I.A. singing the word "ohm," the word that, in accordance with Hindu lore, created the entire universe. Indeed, M.I.A. carefully crafts her own tumultuous, often cacophonous universe in this album. Her past releases, without sacrificing quality, have been guilty of fragmentation and inconsistency. Matangi is not. It has an oddly uniform sound without becoming boring, and the result is a solid, unclassifiable album that acts as both a return to form and a marked departure for the artist.