Connor Harlan, Editor-in-Chief

Following a very successful last few years with his album “Mutant,” a hand in production on Bjork’s most recent record, and a handful of notable collaborations, Arca’s place as an influential electronic music producer is being solidified. His clout is getting larger and larger, and he’s accommodated this recent string of success with a brand new self-titled album on XL Recordings. Arca’s music is known for its fragmented and often unconventional structure, but this new record shows a more conventional change of pace for Arca, at least in terms of song structure. While the songs still maintain their roots in esoterica and occasionally unsettling soundscapes, these songs are more concise. While this is the case, Arca has also added a new twist to his sound with some utterly chilling vocals. Arca’s singing voice is hushed and is almost a whimper, but the dimension that it adds to his music makes things feel quite different. Songs like “Reverie” use the vocals to make the song climax in a clanging mess of his voice and the music. “Anoche” is less engaging, but is just as cinematic, with the song moving slowly and lumbering over a quiet instrumental while Arca sings like a weeping Opera singer. It’s one of the most moving parts on the album, and there are quite a few quiet passages that mirror this. I suppose if there’s any gripe I have, it’s that a few of the songs aren’t properly fleshed out. “Castration” has an EDM inspired beat that doesn’t really go anywhere, and the track “Whip” doesn’t do much for the track listing with its runtime being just over a minute. With all of that said, Arca’s self-titled album still does his unsettling sound a lot of justice, especially with the vocals added. It’s a welcome detour and has me eager for what sonic move he’ll make next. 7/10