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Arca brings his vision of a truly twenty-first-century electronica to XL with what many are already calling his most concise, dynamically engineered set of recordings yet. Simply entitled Arca, these thirteen tracks build on his 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 his 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 his chosen artist moniker, Arca. This uncovered approach reflects the album's nature to reveal Arca at his 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 his use of vocals. Letting his voice take centre stage within the sonic sphere of his electrolysis sound design, he tops off this new found melancholic croon with his 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 his 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 his 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 his most fascinating work for FKA Twigs, Björk & Kelela, Arca gives us thirteen tracks that outshine anything he 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.