14 Apr 2017

Arca - Arca (album review)

Arca’s last album Mutant felt like it was of another universe. This album feels like Arca’s soul has been exiled into dead space millions of light years away. Arca has become one of the most exciting electronic producers of the decade, and his extra-terrestrial textures have lead him to huge collaborations with FKA Twigs, Bjork and Kanye West.

His latest project is understandably self-titled. This record feels infinitely more human than his previous LPs; this is probably down to the addition of vocals, and the nature of it as self-titled implies all kinds of things about this as a statement of self-reflection. Arca’s voice glides blissfully through a thin line between beauty and monstrosity.  The opener Piel is unsettling and a fitting introduction to the lonely and heartbroken reality that Arca invites the listener into. Anoche is a highlight on the record Arca sings “I dreamed you last night, your figure and your arms” on this staggeringly beautiful art-pop opus.

Desafío is probably the closest Arca has come to a pop song its catchy hook is complimented by the euphoric yet broken synth sounds. Oxymoronic is a perfect description for this record it’s hard to work out whether the songs are defeated or victorious or somewhere in between.

Arca’s bombastic operatic bass vocal style on the track Saunter graces the on an instrumentation which could have fit nicely on to his last record.

The track Reverie is one of the darkest pathways on the LP the I final minute of the song Arca breaks out into a frantic roar of sorrow this is a fantastic example of his incredible  often switching from bass style operatic vocals to a higher pitch reminiscent  of Jónsi (Sigur Ros) or Thom Yorke. Arca’s switching of vocal styles adds drama to the cuts of this album giving them a progression and overall satisfying feel.

If I was going to nit-pick here I would have put the drums higher in the mix they are incredibly ear pleasing but seem to fall into the background and they are delightful when they shine through particularly on the track castration where they sound like they could have come from an IGLOOGHOST project.

This is Arca’s best work to date and probably 2017’s best so far. It’s clear Arca has taken a lot influence from previous collaborators with this project - Bjork in particular - the record has the same distraught feel as Bjork’s Vulnicura. It sees Arca step out into the spotlight on this album makes this feel like a truly one of a kind album.

8.6/10

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(Words: Aimee Armstrong)