Rainforests of Glitching Fire
Whenever I introduce a new initiate to Arca, I make it a point to emphasize their contribution to the Kanye West’s album, Yeezus, alongside their ongoing work producing with Bjork. This kind of amphibious ability to straddle the ultra-mainstream, as well as the uber-leftfield manifests in their solo work as an unparalleled dynamic range where one second you are assaulted with a glitching vocal grunt and the next you’re stretched out on a droning hammock and the next you’re bludgeoned with a beautiful, fuzzy bass staccato. There is no predicting what lies beyond the next hill, but chances are it will be unlike anything you have ever heard before.
This isn’t the first time Arca has given an album a repeating symbol as its name. Before @@@@@, there was &&&&&. And, though the sound isn’t exactly a throwback to the early record, there is a return to the grittier, noisier Arca of Mutant. Tracks, like “Predator” contain some singing, but it is vaporous, flowing in and out of the song and never assuming the prominence of the self-titled album. As much as I enjoy s/t and as impressed as I am with their Bjork collaborations, what really captivates me about Arca is their ability to combine many abstruse elements into songs that morph between moments of detuned discomfort and soporific euphoria. The stuff in between gets me nodding my head and moshing along to the beat, but it’s the freaky shit that keeps me coming back for more.
The whole 1:06 minutes of this megalith are buttered honey, but some tasty draughts to whet your beak on are “Monstrua,” “Mujere,” and the colossal “Amantes.” 10.0 stars