Arca – Arca – XL Recordings
Alejandro Ghersi, the brainchild and single component of Arca, already has a back catalogue and reputation for some of the most imaginative, compelling and provocative work in the field of electronic music. Often sparse and brutal but always cutting edge, Ghersi’s self titled album is possibly his most approachable to date. In previous work his schizophrenic, ADHD approach meant his music skipped from theme to theme in a hurricane of creative output. However in his most recent offering he seems to have slowed his methodology down somewhat and allows his compositions to breathe more freely. There is still stark and vivid imagery throughout, the moans of what appears to be discontented and restless animals, epitomises Ghersi’s caged and reluctant persona, his introvert extrovert personality cascading onto the record but then almost immediately withdrawing itself.
Arca shows a musician finding, albeit in a highly contemporary way, melodies and harmonies in the abstract chaos of his music and tracks like Desafío almost contain enough coherence to consider it digestible enough for a mainstream audience, something that he could never have been accused of in previous work. However, that is not to say that Ghersi’s music is in any way watered down or anodyne as a result, the flickers of disorder contrast emphatically with moments of sheer majesty and give the impression of a cogged, oily machine juggernauting through to allow space for natural and untamed beauty to follow.
When we look at where we are and what is on offer, sometimes one could not be blamed for feeling that we are merely rehashing and reimagining the work of our predecessors. Anyone who ever feels like that should listen to Arca. His thematic, expressive and expansive work never fails to do anything other than amaze and spellbind.