07 10

Arca Mutant Mute


As the western world’s rigidity towards androgynous art thaws, Venezuela-born artist Alejandro Ghersi aka Arca continues to soundtrack its strides. Last year, his debut record Xen was an aberration of mangled technology, declassified beat manipulation and warped ambience. Arca found normality in Xen’s ambiguities. “Xen isn’t really a boy…and not really a girl,” he said. Instead, Xen was a childhood alter-ego that blushed in its own depravity. With Mutant, however, no longer does Ghersi appear masked behind his bashful doppelgänger. Here, he embraces a monstrous beauty. Where Xen shrouded itself in baroque short-circuiting and bass responsive ambiguity, Mutant pants with perverse pride.

And it’s here that Arca’s sexual reverie is completely realised. Having the opportunity to consult for pop anomalies like Kanye, FKA twigs and most recently Björk, Ghersi has channeled a newfangled flair and certitude via an intravenous drip directly to Mutant’s veins. Across twenty tracks, Mutant weaves a series of glossy and disorienting aural puzzle pieces. Time signatures become tenebrous but Arca’s thematic arcs remain intact. The glitchy neuroticism of Alive and Sinner stutter between ideas of carnal imbalance and primitive intimacy. Umbilical clanks away like a file-corrupted game of Pong; bouncing between playful and perverse. Front Load and En grimace at disjointed trap beats and pirouettes around loosely fitted footwork. It’s all decisively alien in its mutations.

Yet this is not so much a rebirth or renewal for Arca as much as it is an acceptance of what he represents as a producer tight roping between the underground and mainstream. Xen surprised those expecting discipline and accessibility. Accordingly, Mutant is a revision of Xen’s shock factor, where curiosity is the only familiar tool available to aid in deconstructing its unremitting nihilism.