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LP (12" album, 33 rpm)
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Arca is the incarnation of Alejandro Ghersi, a 24-year old Venezuelan producer and musician releasing his debut LP, Xen in the fall. Having previously released EPs, mixtapes, and produced for the likes of FKA Twigs, Bjork, and Kanye West Arca's music is uniquely his own. Xen is a very personal record for Arca, with the underlying concept revolving around gender and sexuality. However, gender isn't the defining concept but rather a vessel with which to expose Arca's vulnerability. Arca works closely with visual artist, Jesse Kanda who created the album cover for Xen.
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Arca continues to push the boundaries on whats considered listenable, but that's what gives it the edge to stand out. The plethora of instrumentation and off beats would drive most people crazy, but only the strong go crazy, the weak just go along.
Ya Tu Sabe!
The kaleidoscopic collection of Arca’s arsenal consists of twisted keys, broken melodies and experimental beats. Take a look at the cover art, and you may get a glimpse into the sonic territory of the warped sounds underneath. The instruments appear to be limited to a particular aesthetic of pitch bent notes, syncopated rhythms, and seemingly out of place stretched time signatures, and yet it works on every track. Throw in the contorted visuals of Jesse Kanda, who designed all the accompanying imagery for Xen, including the mildly discomforting [in a very good way – think of Cunningham’s “Rubber Johnny”], sexually charged music videos, and you’ve got a highly imaginative palette of never before heard (and seen) music, that seemingly propels itself into the future’s past.
The album has recently been also released as an ‘????? Edition’ which contains two bonus tracks, previously available as part of a very limited vinyl-only deluxe edition. Besides riding the well deserved critical acclaim, with musical outlets declaring him to be “one of our most uncompromising, intriguing and forward thinking producers,” Ghersi managed to find the time to co-produce Björk‘s Vulnicura album, released by One Little Indian in January of 2015 [along with The Haxan Cloak on a few tracks], so be sure to check that out as well. Once again, I am impressed with Mute’s strong comeback with the backing of Arca and many other genre (gender?) bending artists, and am extremely excited by the eclectic programming in 2015. Stay tuned.