Arca has caught my eye since he first began his work with surrealist cinematographer Jesse Kanda and created hiccuping nightmares turned dreamscape experimental productions for FKA Twigs. Also known as Alexander Ghersi, the Venezuelan 27-year old has slowly been revealing his true essence and vulnerabilities through his releases.
His first solo effort, Xen was a familiar side of Arca, but still presented a more vulnerable side with the introduction of his genderless alter-ego Xen, which was a bald humanoid void of genitalia, therefore ridding it of earthly and unimportant frivolities, such as gender or even species. The humanoid was naked and dancing to the infectious experimental rhythms with a passion that made me believe that this was truly a personal part of Arca that we were seeing. It turned out it was, as Arca began to reveal his gender fluidity and unapologetic sensuality that makes him so fascinating and real.
The second solo effort, Mutant began to show more vulnerability with stripped down orchestral compositions that rang deep with emotion. All of these were a setup for his latest release and self-titled album Arca, which truly introduces the world to the complicated, gorgeous, and layered inner-workings of the producer. One notable change is Arca’s continued use of his own vocals, which we here right from the start on the gut wrenching emotional “Piel.” If you were to stare at the beating and bodiless heart ripped from someone’s chest in all of its grotesqueness and oddly endearing beauty then that would be how I would imagine “Piel.” This thematic element of unfiltered truth drives into you throughout the duration of the self-titled album.
His decision to sing the entire album in Spanish is one of the most enlightening reasons that I have ever heard. When talking to Noisey Mexico, he said that this was because he learned emotions in Spanish and watched his parents argue in Spanish, so that was the best way to get his true emotions across, and upon listening you can tell that it paid off.
Arca’s operatic vocals expose him beyond the flesh in a way that is both deeply disturbing and commendable. Even when he doesn’t put his vocals on display, Arca gets the point across. Ripping, jumping, and blotching sounds sticks into cloudy synths as they twist its way into Arca’s personal internal conflict.
If any of us could live even half of the truth that Arca does we would be a lot better off.