Arca: Arca review – ecclesiastical grandeur meets bleeding-edge dissonance

(XL Recordings)

With its eerie silences, foreboding chords and hymnal chanting, Arca’s third record really does manage to erect a sonic cathedral around your ears. This ceaselessly pioneering producer – who has brought his bleeding-edge sensibility to the work of Björk, Kanye, FKA twigs, Frank Ocean and Dean Blunt – takes ecclesiastical tropes and ingests them into his warped, dissonant and giddily contemporary world. Using his own voice for the first time – a move encouraged by Björk – Arca improvises melodies and lyrics in Spanish, backed by a filleted version of the startling industrial noise found in his earlier work. Exquisite opener Piel captures the interplay between poise and prostration that has made Catholic ritual such a rich artistic seam, while arch humour is provided by Whip – hyper-real lashing accompanied by the sound of a powering-down robot – and Desafío, which takes disposable Eurotrash pop and makes it worthy of pious contemplation.


Rachel Aroesti

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Arca: KiCk i review – joyful sonic vision of what pop could be
Alejandra Ghersi’s new set is a subversive and mischievous fusion of aural fireworks and psychedelic lyricism aided by Björk, Shygirl, Rosalía and Sophie

John Twells

25, Jun, 2020 @12:00 PM

Article image
Arca: Kick ii, iii, iiii, iiiii review | Alexis Petridis's albums of the week
Four new albums of extravagantly warped electronics offer listeners a lot to take in – and her most pop-focused music to date

Alexis Petridis

03, Dec, 2021 @6:00 AM

Article image
Everybody get up! The dance crazes changing the world
Drake’s In My Feelings is the latest viral sensation to get people moving. And from black culture to queer identity to feminism, the global reach of pop choreography makes it the perfect way to change cultural perceptions

Lior Phillips

10, Aug, 2018 @10:00 AM

Article image
Arca: Kick I review – dissonance meets overground ambitions
The Venezuelan electronic innovator adds guests and party tunes to her trademark glitchy sounds

Kitty Empire

28, Jun, 2020 @8:00 AM

Article image
The Invisible: Patience review – complex and brilliantly original pop
Following their 2012 album inspired by grief, Dave Okumu and band now deliver one steeped in joy, and full of ingenious details that only reveal themselves with multiple listens

Alexis Petridis

09, Jun, 2016 @2:00 PM

Article image
Tirzah: Devotion review – quiet love stories from DIY R&B enigma
Making magic out of minimal patterns – with the help of old friend and producer Mica Levi – the singer spins alluring stories of intimacy and love

Laura Snapes

09, Aug, 2018 @11:00 AM

Article image
Factory Floor: 25 25 review – industrial acid thumpers get slightly less abrasive

Paul MacInnes

18, Aug, 2016 @8:00 PM

Article image
Brian Eno reissues review – back to the future with his most beautiful music | Alexis Petridis' album of the week
After leaving Roxy Music, Eno created solo albums presaging everything from post-punk to My Bloody Valentine

Alexis Petridis

03, Aug, 2017 @2:00 PM

Article image
Actress: AZD review – a brilliantly twisted, introverted take on dance music | Alexis Petridis' album of the week
The fifth album from one of electronic music’s most admired producers comes with a lot of high-concept baggage, but the music speaks for itself

Alexis Petridis

13, Apr, 2017 @2:00 PM

Article image
Yves Tumor: Safe in the Hands of Love review – thrilling plunderphonics
The Tennessee expat performs daring handbrake turns between driving techno, breakbeat pop, spoken word and trip hop shuffles

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

07, Sep, 2018 @6:00 AM