The lush but frightening sonic landscape of Arca

Many Latin producers have been hyped up in recent years, but none of them truly reach the heights of success that Venezuelan Alejandro Ghersi has reached with their lush but frightening, queer-inspired sonic landscape. From working on small labels in New York City, to closely producing Kanye West, Bjork, FKA Twigs, Kelela and Frank Ocean, the producer also known as Arca has managed to craft a spectacular career for himself but, how did all of this come to life?

The start of something new

Moving to the United States during the era of ex-president Hugo Chavez, Ghersi was directly removed from much of the drama surrounding the unfortunate chain of events that have been progressing as the doors close in on the country’s inner turmoil, but somehow all that energy has served as fuel for some truly chaotic, inspired sounds that Arca has worked with since the start of their relatively short career as a producer. Starting with a series of EPs named Baron Libre, Stretch 1 and Stretch 2, respectively, Arca created what was to be some of the sounds that would permeate the mainstream in the next years, from futuristic but menacing R&B as performed by both FKA Twigs and Kelela, to the hair-raising synth tones and timbres in Kanye West’s divisive 2013 album Yeezus.

A softer side of the coin

Somewhere along the way, Ghersi met renowned singer-songwriter and producer Bjork, who brought them in to co-produce her latest full-length LPs, 2015’s “Vulnicura” and 2017’s “Utopia”, both of which present a much more straightforward sense of songwriting than on Ghersi’s other productions, and a softer palette of sounds that certainly does not feel like it is much in the artist’s eerie wheelhouse. However, this experience is probably what inspired their first album as a singing artists after signing to XL Recordings, a self-titled LP in which Ghersi croons in Spanish, showing a more vulnerable side of their artistry and letting people in on how their aesthetic works within the parameters of classic Venezuelan balladry.

The future and the past

Considering how closely related both of these worlds are but how wildly different their aesthetics can feel to the outside listener, it is surely hard to tell where Arca might move next, but their rumored work with rising star Rosalia might prove to be one of this (or next) year’s most enthralling musical moments, as we gather to take a step into of electronic music’s brightest minds and what they’re capable of at moment. Their queer aesthetic and singular voice is only prove that whatever they step into in the near future, is sure to be as wildly unpredictable as their recent past, and it is truly remarkable how anxious the electronic music world seems to be awaiting just a small hint of news from what is already one of the last few decades’ most ambitious and prodigious producers.  We’re all at large, filled with expectation at their next steps, whatever they may be.

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