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Artist
Arca
ReleaseProduct
Arca Essential Bundle
Label
Various
Catalogue Number
ARCAESSENTIALBUNDLE
Release Date
May 18, 2020

Arca - Xen

Arca lands on Mute with the mesmerizing 'Xen' having produced the stand out tracks on Kanye's Yeezus and FKA Twigs 'LP1' Arca delivers a full throttle LP for Mute, from the psychedelic slide n shuffle beats and half heard vox of 'Slit Thru' to the bass heavy 'Thievery' which could almost be a hip-hop answer to some of the more beat-focused side roads of 'Untrue'. This album is jam packed with future-facing electronic trax aplenty, from introspective moments like the piano led 'Held Apart' to the zig-zag synth flex of 'Bullet Chained' there is a wealth of production here that feels like it could have been made by someone with many years of experience. Arca has created a stunning debut with one eye firmly focused on the clubs but with an experimental pop sensibility that shines throughout, come hear why 'Arca' is such an in-demand producer and a name on everybody's lips.

Venezuelan-born producer Alejandro Ghersi AKA Arca’s dazzling ascent which saw her earn production credits with FKA Twigs and on Kanye West’s Yeezus culminates to a debut solo LP on the legendary Mute Records. Now rubbing shoulders with some of the most influential electronic musicians of our time, Arca’s unflustered, assured experimental pop sound draws its inspiration from the past but releases it as a blueprint for the future. Despite Ghersi’s young 24 years of age, Xen carries the confidence of an artist who understands her sound and looks set to be a pivotal moment not only in her own career but in digital music as a whole.

Arca - Mutant

Arca drops her second album almost exactly one year after her well-beloved debut, Xen. It arrives at a time when the Venezuelan experimental musician/producer has never been more in demand, thanks in no small part to a hefty co-production credit on Björk’s acclaimed ninth album Vulnicura. Whereas Arca’s production work with other vocalists and musicians allows him to bring a touch of strangeness to traditional songwriting forms, her albums have always presented an opportunity for him to follow her instinct, arriving at something that often sounds more personal and more delicate as a result. Mutant is a more extroverted album than Xen, placing a larger emphasis on scorching melodies and twisted beats than her debut: just listen to the gunfire rhythms of ‘Sinner’ or the Autechre-esque flavours of ‘Front Load’ for proof. But remnants of Xen’s emotional expressiveness remain intact elsewhere. ‘Else’ is a piano composition that sounds stark and forlorn, while ‘Snakes’ captures the same feelings of abstract isolation that an artist like Visionist manages to articulate so well. Otherwise, Arca’s considerable talents as a producer have never been on clearer display, with tracks like ‘Gratitud’ containing a miniature universe of sound that will reveal itself to attentive listeners.

Arca - Arca

Arca brings her vision of a truly twenty-first-century electronica to XL with what many are already calling her most concise, dynamically engineered set of recordings yet. Simply entitled Arca, these thirteen tracks build on her two entries for Mute to create a vivid and impulsive record that stands outside of any sound, style or genre you may try and place it within.

Morphing from Mute to her new home of XL, the Venezuela-born Alejandro Ghersi goes back to basics by dropping any sign of an album title by simply naming the album after her chosen artist moniker, Arca. This uncovered approach reflects the album's nature to reveal Arca at her most exposed; an artist who is constantly fighting against the grain and pushing himself forward creatively no matter what. This theme is catered strongly through the album's bruised yet hopeful face that adorns the sleeve design by longtime collaborator Jesse Kanda.

All the elements that make Arca's albums so puzzling yet frighteningly addictive are here, with the most striking element being her use of vocals. Letting her voice take centre stage within the sonic sphere of her electrolysis sound design, she tops off this new found melancholic croon with her usual highest standard nexxx level pop sensibility, that mixed with a taste for the avant-garde sounds like what we would imagine a SOPHIE and Coil collaboration would be like.

From the skin tight operatic slap of Saunter through to the drenched ambience of Urchin, Arca finds Ghersi facing endless grey skies with a far away look in her eye. Mixing the abstract with the abnormal, raindrop-like piano keys fall into an ocean heavy with oil and polluted by a feeling of loss. Desafío moves between Croation Amor style vocal hooks that reflect an angel getting its wings clipped to a sound that in a parallel dimension, could top the charts.

Shielded by a melancholic cloak, Arca drips with a falling vulnerability that is ripe at the core of her music, yet there is a true feeling of power behind each brush stroke that carries an atmosphere akin to Philip Glass being haunted by the twisted out of shape figure that crept onto the cover of Xen. Having previously produced some of her most fascinating work for FKA Twigs, Björk & Kelela, Arca gives us thirteen tracks that outshine anything she has previously done before, leaving an indelible, subconscious mark of synapse-snapping endlessly-transforming soundworld that can have only come from the studio of no one other than Arca.

Arca

Various

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