Peeking From Between My Fingers: Some Disjointed Thoughts On Kanye's 'Famous' Video

text by Lena Dunham

Like many pop culture addicted Americans, I wait with bated breath for what Kanye West will do next. Aside from his Twitter mayhem, he has created some really "next level shit" as the kids would say. I could also happily watch Kim Kardashian West chip the paint off a window ledge for hours and be fascinated. I admire that whole family, love the way they depict women as better in numbers and masters of their own destiny. I'd spend all summer at Kamp Kardashian. But it's possible to hold two competing thoughts in your mind and the Famous video is one of the more disturbing "artistic" efforts in recent memory.

Let's break it down: at the same time Brock Turner is getting off with a light tap for raping an unconscious woman and photographing her breasts for a group chat... As assaults are Periscoped across the web and girls commit suicide after being exposed in ways they never imagined... While Bill Cosby's crimes are still being uncovered and understood as traumas for the women he assaulted but also massive bruises to our national consciousness... Now I have to see the prone, unconscious, waxy bodies of famous women, twisted like they've been drugged and chucked aside at a rager? It gives me such a sickening sense of dis-ease.

I was raised in the art world by a dad who painted aggro scenes of sexuality and war and a mom who, ironically enough, has photographed some butt naked life-sized dolls of her own. I live for the nude rabble rousing of Carolee Schneemann and Hannah Wilke, for Kathy Acker's arty porn, for Paul McCarthy's gnomes with butt plugs and Vito Acconci masturbating under the gallery floor and Carrie Mae Weems shedding a blinding light on the pleasures and terrors of black womanhood. If it's been banned, I'll probably love it. Because I know that art's job is to make us think in ways that aren't always tidy or comfortable. But this feels different.

I'm sure that Bill Cosby doll being in the bed alongside Donald Trump is some kind of statement, that I'm probably being trolled on a super high level. I know that there's a hipper or cooler reaction to have than the one I'm currently having. But guess what? I don't have a hip cool reaction, because seeing a woman I love like Taylor Swift (fuck that one hurt to look at, I couldn't look), a woman I admire like Rihanna or Anna, reduced to a pair of waxy breasts made by some special effects guy in the Valley, it makes me feel sad and unsafe and worried for the teenage girls who watch this and may not understand that grainy roving camera as the stuff of snuff films. I hesitated a lot about saying anything cuz I figured the thinkpieces would come pouring in. But I didn't see this angle being explored as much as I had hoped. It's weird to feel like you're watching alone. I bet I'm not.

Here's the thing, Kanye: you're cool. Make a statement on fame and privacy and the Illuminati or whatever is on your mind! But I can't watch it, don't want to watch it, if it feels informed and inspired by the aspects of our culture that make women feel unsafe even in their own beds, in their own bodies.

Y'all, I'm so sick of showing up to the party angry. But at least I brought cake.

Originally published as a public comment on Lena Dunham's Facebook page. Photograph by Terry Richardson. Follow Autre on Instagram: @AUTREMAGAZINE

[FASHION REVIEW] Kanye West's Yeezy Season Three Collection

text by Adam Lehrer

I, admittedly, am a Kanye West apologist. I find myself profusely defending the man anytime a friend of mine has something even slightly negative to say about him. I, truly, am a massive fan. And then he has to go and drop a bomb like the “COSBY IS INNOCENT!!!” tweet and I’m left thinking, “Kanye why you doing this to me bro? You’re putting me in a tight spot.” So heading to Madison Square Garden in sub-freezing weather for an upclose viewing of Yeezy Season 3, (thank you Adidas) I had an unexpectedly sour taste in my mouth. It didn’t matter though..

Anyone who tells you something as blasé as “it sucked” clearly has a very personal hatred for the man in question. This was fashion as pop art and pop art as high-octane “Holy Fuck!” entertainment. Big is the operative word here. A filled Madison Square Garden gazing upon what seemed to be at least 500 models. For those naysayers of which I’m sure there are many of (though perhaps not as many as the 20 million fans that tuned into the presentation’s live stream however), try putting this into perspective: it was the biggest conceptual art project of all time and certainly the biggest presentation Vanessa Beecroft has ever assembled, the biggest listening party of all time, and quite easily the biggest fashion show of all time. It was so much more than fashion though.

As expected, celebrities came in spades for this show. The whole Kardashian clan: Kim, Kris, Kendall, Kylie, Kourntey, Khloe, and Caitlyn all came out to support. Pusha T swayed his head behind his brother Kanye throughout the entirety of the listening session. Vic Mensa showed up to play a new track of his own. I could have sworn I saw actress Shailene Woodley walk by as I found myself entrenched in the scene. Even our friend and artist extraordinaire Ryan Mcginley was sitting a few rows ahead of me wearing an excellent self-patched denim vest and dancing along with all the new Kanye tracks. The models, of which there were so many it was near impossible to identify them all individually, had a few celebs amongst them as well. In addition to Yeezy regulars like Ian Connor and others from the previous two seasons, Atlanta weirdo art rapper Young Thug and super super super model Naomi Campbell both found themselves center stage adorned in new Yeezy looks.

At this point, you have probably decided whether or not you like Kanye’s clothes. Personally, I love them (I’m wearing a Season 1 short sleeve sweatshirt that I got 80 percent off at Antonia in Milan as I write this, it makes me look like some sculpture artist or something), and it’s hard to doubt that Kanye has identified a look. I mean, every brand is ripping him off after just two seasons, from his friends like Jerry Lorenzo of the Fear of God label and Ronnie Feig of Kith to fast fashion conglomerates like H&M.

It appears that every season Kanye maintains his interesting palette of beige to black military garb but also implements new styles into the mix as the brand goes on. This season, he seems particularly taken with his young co-hort Ian Connor’s urban normcore look, as there were amazing overalls, college logo sweatshirts, and workwear pants in seemingly magnificent materials. At the same time, Kanye’s claim at the show that he sought to one day be creative director of Hermés wasn’t as ludicrous as it should have been with the introduction of some of his most capital “F” fashion pieces. Campbell led a group of stunning female models wearing honest-to-gooness mink coats. One couldn’t help but be shocked at the sheer volume of clothes. Yesterday I thought Saint Laurent’s 90 looks was pretty astounding, but this show numbered in the hundreds. There is such a cool posse mentality to the Yeezy brand. Like, you’ll look pretty cool on your own in this stuff but if your entire group of friends starts donning these looks, you guys will be a goddamn wrecking crew.

I don’t want to say much about the album, but I will say that TSOP (The Story of Pablo) is in no way a let down. It has that propulsive energy that I so loved about Yeezus but Kanye is once again opting to amp up soul and funk melodies to house tearing effects as opposed to experimenting in atonality. Most songs are bangers, but the record ends beautifully with the haunting Sia collaboration Wolves that was premiered at Yeezy Season 1. Kanye tweaked the sound a bit and it sounded crystal clear and almost psychedelic in its atmospherics.

The sheer spectacle of Yeezy Season 3 was unprecedented. Beecroft’s choreography was fantastic, applying the minimal approach of the first two seasons to an army sized diverse casting of youths. You’d find yourself gazing amongst the models and then catching an interesting detail: a female model puts her fist up like a civil rights sign (pun intended) or Ian Connor lights up a cigarette and puffs away. How this thing worked is beyond me, but Kanye’s DONDA creative team is really doing tremendous things. I’ve never really seen something so massive and mainstream present itself at what can’t be described as anything other than a magnificent temporal art work.

And it didn’t stop there. After Kanye’s record played, he expressed excitement about a video game he developed chronicling his mother Donda’s travels to Heaven. Yes you read that correctly. After a clip from the game was shown on the jumbotron, the crowd responded lukewarm. Kanye, looking stunned, scolded us, “You act like making a game about your mom traveling to Heaven is regular,” he said with a smile. And then he played the clip again. The crowd cheered loud the second time around. 

Click here to see more photo coverage of the collection. 


Text by Adam Lehrer

The widest margin of income inequality in the history of the United States. Rampant police brutality. The most overcrowded prisons in the western hemisphere. No guarantees of education or health care. Corporate greed. The mainstream media wants to tell me that I'm a sexist for not voting for Hilary Clinton. They say Bernie Sanders is too radical to be president, that people can't accept all that change at once? Fuck that. That is the military industrial complex keeping us complacent, telling us to make the sensible choice so that they can maintain the "natural order of things." If the sensible economic policies of Sen. Sanders are radical, then let's revolt away. President Obama was great for liberals and this country, but now is the time to take those epic policy changes and institute a full blown system overhaul. Protest away, my fellow Americans. It is our motherfucking right!

Music has always been a powerful tool of protest, bringing together disparate groups of people behind one message and one sound. The statement of protest can be clear, whether it be Rage Against the Machine encouraging us to bring down the system, or Ice Cube detailing the horrors of police brutality, or Killer Mike telling us that he's "Glad Reagan dead," or Beyoncé using her immortality to ally herself with feminism. Or it can be subtle, as in Miles Davis soundtracking the cold life of 1970s New York, Peaches celebrating her body and sexuality, or the very existence of Anarchist musical collectives like Test Dept, Can, or Crass (not available on Spotify, sadly).

Music brings us together, and together they will fall. The conservative right still seems to believe they hold all the power, but 86 percent of this country is made up of young people, minorities, and women. The rich white man is a dead monkey in the United States. It's time they realize it, and either stand with us or move out of the way. We all have the right to flourish in this beautiful country of ours. We all have the right to be healthy and to improve our minds. We all have the right to feel protected by law enforcement, and not vilified by it. We all have the right to see the corruption, and to declare it so. We have the right. And if that right is continuously denied to us, we will fight for it. 

[FRIDAY PLAYLIST] The Best Hip Hop Tracks Of 2015

I was speaking with Lily Mercer, Editor-in-Chief of the excellent UK-based Hip-Hop lifestyle magazine VIPER, about the idea of the “Golden Age of Hip-Hop.” This period, often referred to as the years between the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, has only been referred to as such in retrospect. When Wu Tang dropped 36 chambers and Biggie dropped Ready to Die and Nas dropped Illmatic and Public Enemy dropped ‘Fear of a Black Planet’ and Ice Cube dropped Amerikkkaz Most Wanted and 2pac dropped 2pacalypse Now, no critic said, “Fuck, I think we are living in the Golden Age of this Rap shit.”

That makes it even the more ironic now that people are so nostalgic for the last Golden Age that they are not realizing that we are living in our OWN GOLDEN AGE. I 100 percent believe that 2015 has been a landmark year for Hip-Hop. We have gotten massive releases from the world’s biggest stars: Drake, Future, Rocky, etc..; to experimental records from some of the game’s most genre-bending weirdos: Le1f, Milo, Oddisee, etc.

Vince Staples said in an interview this year that hip-hop is the most important contemporary art form. I tend to agree with him. Aside from the fact that spoken word poetry over music genre-bending beats is one of the most winning music formulas the world has ever seen, no other “artist” can really match the reach that rap stars have. Now that Hip-hop is starting to represent more than one type of background and perspective (Women, gays) it’s entering a new phase of sonic and thematic maturity.

Read up on the tracks below...

1. Earl Sweatshirt, I Don’t Like Shit I Don’t Go Outside, Track: "DNA"

The Odd Future collective has outgrown each other. Frank Ocean has become a generational icon. Tyler has diversified into a human brand. And Earl Sweatshirt has become the best rapper on Earth. Sony really fucked Earl on this one, releasing I Don’t Like Shit I Don’t Go Outside on iTunes with no prior promotion. That meant that heads had a new Earl record they didn’t know about for a couple of days, and the record didn’t have near the cultural impact that it should have had. The record is sparser than his previous release Doris, but even more polished in the wordplay. He is most certainly a millennial rapper, heeding influence to everything from early Eminem and MF Doom. In a year fat with great rap records, this one I consistently went back to.

2. Drake, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Track: "Legend"

Drake owned 2015 from February onward: Hotline Bling, Meek Mill destruction, OVO X Jordan. And it all started with this record. It seems like Drake lost some of his fan boys with this disc that found him spit a bit more aggressive and lacking some of the Cure-ish melancholy “sad king” sounds from his earlier records. But that got me thinking. I once had a journalism professor who worked for EW and he said the coolest celebs were always the most famous ones: your Robert Downey, Jr’s, Brad Pitt’s, Clooney’s. Guys that are so fucking famous they are just used to people freaking out on them and no how to be cool about it. If You’re Reading This… has Drake acknowledging that he’s untouchable. If he died, he’d be a legend. And fuck if that isn’t the hottest opening hook I’ve ever heard.

3. Dr. Yen Lo, Days with Dr. Yen Lo, Track: "Day 1125"

Ka keeps the spirit of Brooklyn alive. With Night’s Gambit, he established himself as the logical successor to GZA as an MC that was equally meditative and streetwise. His whispered rhymes sometimes come at you more as a lullaby than street poetry. His Dr. Yen Lo project is collaboration with producer Preservation, perhaps previously best known for his work with Mos Def. The album finds them playing with the themes of the Manchurian Candidate. As with all Ka releases, it’s extremely minimal, pulling just the right bass line to keep a weed clouded head bopping ever so slowly. Day 11215 is a bit of an outlier on the album, with a beautiful guitar melody shimmering under Ka’s observations. It’s a shame that hip-hop like this will never be bigger.

4. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly, Track: "The Blacker the Berry"

Kendrick’s importance to contemporary culture has been discussed at length, and there’s not much for me to add to it. So I’ll talk about the music. When I first heard the new record, I respected that he pushing his sound outward to the land of free jazz and Parliament, but it wasn’t nearly as immediately addictive as m.A.A.d. city. That was probably a good thing. Not many artists get to international superstar status and get MORE experimental. Kendrick is bold. And this record grows on you until the point that you’ve realized that you listened to the damn thing over 20 times. The Blacker the Berry is still the best track, channeling the aggressive spirit of Kendrick’s hero Tupac Shakur and turning it inward. Kendrick is the protagonist and the antagonist.

5. Vince Staples, Summertime ’06, Track: "Jump off the Roof"

I saw Vince Staples twice this year: once opening for Run the Jewels on the Williamsburg waterfront, and once at the Rocky/Tyler extravaganza. He was incendiary both times. No other artist, except for Run the Jewels most likely, right now is packing such a club banging intensity while espousing revolutionary thought. Staples is a wickedly smart kid and his interviews are as enjoyable to read, as his music is to listen to. He can also get personal with the best of them, as in ‘Jump of the Roof’ where he ponders whether or not his vices are taking over his life.

6. Future, DS2, Track: "The Percocet and Stripper Joint"

I always have liked Future, without taking him overtly serious. That changed in 2014, with the Monster mixtape. He really has developed a singular style. After his split from fiancé Ciara he has started to question his inflated bravado. Celebratory songs of drugs and sex have turned into self-chastising tails of addiction and heartbreak. This was undoubtedly the biggest year of his career, between DS2 and What a Time to be Alive with Drake. I feel like a lot of heads dismiss Auto-Tuners. They shouldn’t. It’s an instrument, a tool. And Future has reached a new level of artistry with it at his arsenal.

7. A$AP Rocky, AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP, Track: "Electric Body (ft. Schoolboy Q)"

Though Rocky is massively popular, he seems to get overlooked critically. On Long.Live.A$AP; perhaps deservedly so. But Rocky both went back to what we fell in love with him in the first place for, anthemic fashion gangsta club tracks, AND expanded his sound, with psychedelic guitar drenched beats and splashes of color. He’s still not the best rapper out there, but he’s gotten a fuckload better, and his music is just so fun to listen to. This was the best driving record of the year. Schoolboy Q and Rocky bring out the best of each other on Electric Body, if you can handle the unabashed misogyny.

8. Bodega Bamz, Sidewalk Exec, Track: "Bring em Out (featuring Flatbush Zombies)"

The Flatbush Zombies and A$AP-affiliated Bodega Bamz, of Spanish Harlem, is an integral piece of the New York Hip-Hop puzzle, but everybody sleeps. ‘Sidewalk Exec’ pays homage to the horrorcore of yesteryear: Geto Boys, early Three 6 Mafia. Produced by V-Don, Sidewalk Exec plays out as both foreboding and at times terrifying.

9. Le1f, Riot Boi, Track: "Koi"

People had been waiting for this one for a while, and Le1f did not disappoint. As openly gay man in hip-hop, there was bound to be automatic interest in Le1f from the art crowds, but he has won over hip-hop crowds almost just as easily. His flow is truly one of a kind, like a more flamboyant Skeptic. He also takes the trap genre to its logical conclusion, incorporating near-cheesy happy hardcore beats into his record that are banged so recklessly joyous that the sound is undeniable.

10. Milo, So the Flies Don’t Come, Track: "An Encyclopedia"

Born of the Los Angeles alt-rap club, Hellfyre Club (is the Nick Tosches reference purposeful?), Milo released his most interested record yet with So the Flies Don’t Come. His beats are barely beats. His rhymes are nearly spoken word. But everything is so oft-kilter and chalk full of pop cultural references that everything comes together full circle. He delivers lines like, “People of Color coloring,” in an onslaught of repetition. His music gets under your skin.

11. Young Thug, Barter 6, Track: "Numbers"

As he appears naked in a Sandy Kim photograph on the cover of his record, it’s clear that Young Thug is a pop star for the millennial art generation. It doesn’t matter that his lyrics don’t make sense. He oozes soul and conviction. He is hyper-conscious of image errs towards performance art. When he edits himself, he also has songs. The Barter 6 is Thug’s most realized effort yet. Kanye needs to get with this kid and teach him how to hone that zaniness.

12. Oddisee, The Good Fight, First Choice

Like Rakim and A Tribe Called Quest before him, Oddisee is interested in the entirety of black American music history. His beats reference soul, jazz, and his hip-hop forebears. What I find most fascinating about him is his ability to weave his rhymes into complex melodies. His music sounds undeniably tight, much like a jazz collective. It’s a total interplay between voice and music.

13. Freddie Gibbs, Shadow of a Doubt, Track: "Narcos"

Gangsta Gibbs’ 2014 collaboration with Madlib, Pinata, was my favorite hip-hop record of 2014. Then last week he dropped another late-year instant classic with Shadow of a Doubt. Gibbs is one of the only MCs in the world that could accurately be labeled as both a coke rapper and socially conscious. His tales of gangbanging aren’t exploitative. They are journalistic. He offers a window into a world in hopes that we can gain a better understanding of it. On Narcos, he tells us that his woman can no longer stand his lifestyle, but he is addicted to it. He loves it. The sentiment is shocking and sad. He also has the best voice in rap. Period. Gibbs forever.

14. Rich Homie Quan, If You Ever Think I Will Stop Going in Ask Rr, Track: "Stupid Me"

How is Quan faring in the battle for Atlanta? Pretty good, I would say. His record If You Ever Think… revealed a new clarity in Quan’s vision. He is introducing a slew of new vocal techniques to pop music. He stays on beat more than Thug. He’s less experimental (if that’s the right word?). Not a perfect record, but promising nonetheless.

15. Meek Mill, Dreams Worth More than Money, Track: "Lord Knows (featuring Tory Lanez)"

Meek fucking Mill. This should have been your year! From its first track Lord Knows, it was clear that Mill was out for blood. No opener this year set the pace for such a bone-shattering album. He just went out for the wrong blood. Drake proved untouchable when Mill challenged him earlier this year, stomping on Meek with two perfect diss tracks. That will be Mill’s 2015 story. But, if you just focus on this record, then Meek won. Plus he gets to have sex with Nicki Minaj. Life can’t be that bad, right? (better than mine anyways)

16. White Boiz, Neighborhood Wonderful, Track: "Main St. (featuring Earl Leon’ne)"

White Boiz aren’t white boys. It’s actually a collaboration between MC Strong Arm Steady producer Star-Ra who came together for this Stones Throw-released Neighborhood Wonderful. The result is a record that channels the galactic spirit of Sun Ra as filtered through Flying Lotus and the meditative qualities of early Mos Def. Though experimental, the record is also quite accessible. It plays like a conversation between the two artists. A conversation that is important to listen to.

17. Quelle Chris, Innocent Country, Track: "Well Running Deep"

Quelle Chris is 13 fucking records into his career, and people still have no clue who he is. He really doesn’t care though, “As artists and musicians, we lost a lot of shit,” he said in an interview with Hip-hopDX, “We sacrifice everything to barely make anything while giving our whole life to people.” Chris makes real hip-hop at the expense of financial security. Generally, he’s pretty funny. On Innocent Country, he gets contemplative. He contemplates why he does what he does and why he is who he is. He never fully realizes his own ideas, and that makes him more interesting to listen to. While we try and figure out what he’s talking about, Quelle is still trying to figure out what he’s trying to talk about. Humanity runs deep in his rhymes.

18. Future Brown, Future Brown, Track: "Talkin Bandz"

I almost forgot about this one. I wasn’t that excited about this record when it came out, but Fatima Al Qadiri and crew grow on you. Warp Records artists, from OG gods Aphex Twin to modern abstract club cultists like Arca, have always paid heed to hip-hop music. Future Brown outwardly explores that connection. In the Internet culture, the kids who are out frying their skulls on Molly in packed clubs to dance music are often the same kids smoking weed in front of their computers all day listening to ‘90s hip-hop. Future Brown comes off as a conceptual project exploring that very mindset.

19. Travi$ Scott, Rodeo, Track: "Piss on ya’ Grave (featuring Kanye West)"

I have so many friends that hate Travi$. In some ways, I see their points. He isn’t the strongest lyricist and he seems more ready-made for fame than he seems willing to develop as an artist. But I found myself seduced Rodeo. It’s interesting to finally hear the Yeezus effect loud and clear. Kanye West once accurately told Zayn Lowe that rappers are the new rock stars, from the sounds to the fame to the fashions. Scott is an immediate rock star. Piss on ya’ Grave, the Kanye collab that serves as the album’s strongest track, takes a Hendrix riff and reappropriates it for a rap star generation.

20. Big Sean, Dark Sky Paradise, Track: "All Your Fault (featuring Kanye West)"

Sean is always going to be over-shadowed by his contemporaries. He lacks Kendrick's lyrical skill, Drake’s emotional resonance, and Kanye’s dominating personality. But when working with the right producers, he does pop-rap as good as anyone. Any other year Dark Sky Paradise would have been one of the biggest releases around. It’s undeniably listenable and a gigantic step up in quality from anything Sean has done previously. He’s also a million times better than J. Cole, but heads seem to hero worship J. Cole until no tomorrow while Sean is left in the G.O.O.D. Music shadow.

Bonus: Vic Mensa featuring Kanye West ‘U Mad Ha’

Though neither artists had full-lengths in 2015, both had strong years. Mensa is the heir apparent to Kanye’s legacy: he channels the grit of the South Side of Chicago while reaching for higher art aspirations. In a recent video, he revealed himself as political, fighting for the justice of Laquan McDonald. And while Kanye had no new record, 2015 still was one of the biggest years of his life. It was the year that the fashion industry finally had to take him seriously, as he released his deconstructed Helmut Lang-channeling military garb with Adidas, and three of the best sneakers ever made. On top of that, he got an honorary doctorate and gave the best VMAs speech ever. On ‘U Mad Ha,’ both artists come together for what will surely prove to be an interesting 2016.

Text and Playlist by Adam Lehrer

A Very Autre Thanksgiving Playlist Featuring Peaches, Bowie, and More

Text by Adam Lehrer

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Where will you be eating today? Family? Friends? Both? To commemorate the holiday we put together this playlist counting down a slew of songs that express gratitude to one thing or another. Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley's versions of 'Hallelujah' both praise the state of existing in this world. Lou Reed is grateful for heroin in this version of the Velvet Underground's 'Heroin.' Everyone is thankful for sex, and in 'Fuck the Pain Away' Peaches illuminates on the healing powers of rough sex while weird hair R&B singer Sisqo is merely thankful for the all mighty thong. On the more poignant end of the playlist is Stevie Wonder, whose track off 'Innervisions,' 'Living for the City,' express love and thanks for his parents. Bowie says thank you to all the heroes out there where ever they may be. Happy thanksgiving, and stay thankful.

[FRIDAY PLAYLIST] Arca's Mind Blow Of A New Record Will Have You Taking Personal Inventory

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.