Much was made, upon the release of Arca’s eponymous 2017 LP, of the artist’s move towards a more song-based style of music-making. Of course, this was a relative assessment – while that album did indeed coalesce around singing to a greater extent than previous Arca records, at its core it remained a set of mournful electronic soundscapes of the sort we had heard on the likes of Xen and Mutant.
On KiCk i, the eagerly-anticipated follow-up to Arca, the musical auteur maintains a similar balance, but the overall feel of the music here is distinctly more vibrant. KiCk i still contains some tracks which lean into the mutated electronic balladry of the previous record – the sombre wash of ‘No Queda Nada’, for instance, would have slotted nicely into the 2017 album’s tracklist. However, rather than sounding pained, this record often channels Arca’s personal challenges into defiant anthems like the hammering mutant club-rap of ‘Nonbinary’ and ‘Rip The Slit’. Even the other tracks that come close to sadness – ‘Machote’, for instance – have a quiet strength about them which was not always present on Arca’s previous releases.
The relative openness of KiCk i is reflected in Arca’s decision to allow more collaborators into the mix here too. Four esteemed guests – Björk, Shygirl, Rosalía and SOPHIE – appear in quick succession from track six onwards. Arca bounces off each of them in different ways, with some adding to her reverie while others help to channel the dark sensuality of her music into some of the most forthright and focussed dance tracks of her career – albeit ones which, in their twisted and dynamic production, remain instantly recognisable as Arca joints.
Arca reaffirms her position as one of the most compelling and innovative producers, sounding stronger than ever on her striking new LP KiCk i.