Communication by means of social media and technology can no longer be argued as being a less expressive mode of communication than any other. It’s quite interesting that people are using these modes of communication to, for lack of a better term, pour their hearts out. What else is a Pinterest page other than a digital bearing of the soul? “This is who I am,” is what we communicate, and we do so through image and curation of content just as much as we do through the written word.
Perhaps this is why Venezuela-born wunderkind electronic music producer Arca feels like one of the most important artists on planet Earth after just two solo records. On 2014’s ‘Xen,’ Arca developed a musical language that could be abrasive and sentimental, spiritual and atheist, and masculine and feminine all at once. Though good electronic music has never been devoid of emotion (can you honestly tell me you feel nothing listening to Brian Eno’s ‘Music for Airports’ or Aphex Twin’s ‘Selected Ambient Works Vol.2’ or LFO’s ‘Frequencies?’), it doesn’t seem that electronic music has ever been made with the intention of expression as such an obvious ambition.
Arca’s newest full-length ‘Sinner’ feels like an even more realized effort than ‘Xen’ and after only a few listens I can already argue it’s one of the year’s best releases in an extraordinarily strong year for new tunes. Arca’s millennial approach (that must have certainly been honed as being part of Shayne Oliver of Hood By Air’s GHETTO GOTHIK parties in which industrial music from the ‘80s and Houston rap were played in equal measure) finds Arca digging deep into his soul. The music is danceable, but dancing is not its ultimate conceptual purpose. It’s about looking within and taking personal inventory. Who am I? What do I like? Who do I like? These questions are asked throughout the record. Arca doesn’t need the written word to express himself. It’s all there in the sonics.
Arca’s aesthetic is clearly in high-demand. The man has of course been responsible for sounds on records of three of contemporary pop music’s most fascinating and experimental superstars: Kanye West, Bjork, and FKA Twigz. But it is in his music that Arca most defines himself.
In an article by Pitchfork, writer Phillip Sherburne deduced that Arca does seem to be the leader of a new aesthetic in electronic music along with artists like Rabit and Lotic. These artists are always weird, sometimes queer, and absolutely deconstruct what we assume electronic dance music is. With these Autre playlists, I have often dug up music that has been personally important to me in my own history. But the release of ‘Mutant’ has me thinking about the here and now. The artists on this playlist are some of the most important and culturally relevant artists working in any medium today. Hyperbole? You wish.