It’s dark. You press a switch on the wall to your left. Flickering lights illuminate the cramped corridor in front of you. One-way glass windows canvas the walls on both sides, looking into individual chambers. You peak into the first window on your right. A creature of unknown species lumbers out from the shadows, distorted with mechanical limbs. Another inhabits the next cell. You continue down the hall, looking into each scene of unique, grotesque beauty . . .
What a year for experimental music, and we aren’t even finished yet. Many artists have excelled in conceiving compelling new ideas and organizing them into cohesive statements, but no one has summoned sublime moments from within abstract, seemingly random instrumentation with more grace than this artist. Mutant is the newest full-length from Venezuelan-born producer Alejandro Ghersi, AKA Arca.
Ghersi’s music is best defined by its fluidity. His compositions are almost never restricted to just one tempo or time signature, and they often resemble symphonic chamber music trapped within pulsing rhythms and otherworldly electronic experimentation. Having collaborated with FKA Twigs and Kanye West, Ghersi is well-versed in the art of creating melodies, and he masks them in entrancing soundscapes.
Mutant‘s ugliness is also where its beauty exists. The genius of Ghersi is unveiled when he forces two disparate elements to clash, like a ghostly piano solo in a fog of industrial ambience (“Else”), or glowing synths over a stomping beat (“Enveloped”). Dedicate a focused listening to the entirety of this one, and I guarantee it will transport you elsewhere. If you’re seeking chamber-tinged experimentalism, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)