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Arca: Voice adds to glorious sound

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May 18, 2017

Over two fiercely original mixtapes and two outstanding albums, Arca, aka Venezuelan-born artist Alejandro Ghersi, has crafted a sound quite apart from any other electronic musician now working.

A fusion of unsettling atmospheres, fierce noise, unhinged improvisation, hip hop clatter and drop-dead-gorgeous melodies has helped shape Arca’s sound into an immediately recognisable beast.

His latest, the self-titled Arca, is notable in his discogrpahy for arriving fully-formed — but more so because for the fi rst time it features him singing. Ghersi’s voice is not just good; it is emotive, powerful, vulnerable and drips with character.

Piel begins with a gentle hum, which merges into soft Spanish-language singing under piercing feedback. Ghersi’s tuneful voice combines with expanding and glorious washes of sound rounding upon the same descending vocal exercise.

It snowballs with emotion as a viscous bass oozes in, adding weight to Ghersi’s fragile voice. Saunter sets Arca’s trademark clattering organ stabs against a similarly soaring vocal performance, while Anoche sounds like a mini opera. 

Operatic in the tone of Ghersi’s voice but also in the high drama barely contained within.There too is the kind of chaotic, majestic, instrumental experimental work as on past efforts Xen and Mutant. These additions are as consistent and singular as ever.

But his latest suggests his voice may yet be the most distinct and impressive string to Ghersi’s bow. And there’s plenty of strings to his bow.

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