Arca Unveils Her Full Range

On December 6, 2021
Photo by Unax LaFuente

Every week, we tell you about an album we think you need to spend time with. This week’s album is not just one, but four albums released by Arca as part of the Kick series. 

In 2020, Venezuelan artist Arca released KiCk i as the first of four albums that would be part of the series. But 2021 is officially the year of Arca. Within a span of one week, she released the remainder of the Kick albums. But it seems like she was in the mood for the giving season — a surprise fifth album to the series dropped on Friday. 

First and foremost, Arca’s music is not meant to be radio-friendly and digestible. She’s an artist whose music you need to spend time with over and over again to fully appreciate the textures that are baked into every song. Even then, it’s an endless journey of acute listening and discovery with every replay. KICK ii is the most approachable album from the four released this past week, while still giving listeners a taste of the distinct sounds Arca has grown to become acclaimed for. It’s a wonderland of synths and ambient melodies that curve around your mind, making a deeper impact with every second that passes by. As the album progresses, the music slows down and the dissonance grows both delicately and intentionally, pulling the album back for one last wave of melody. 

 

 

The transition from KICK ii to KicK iii is a jarring adjustment, with the latter less inclined to cater to traditional definitions of genres. “Bruja” bombards you with a full treatment of erratic beats and experimental warped vocals that gives an accurate preview of the upcoming tracklist. While we’re innately drawn to the comfort of knowing what comes next, KicK iii, and the entire series for that matter, subverts any expectation of what we think Arca will conjure. Instead, the album revels in the places where glitches and layers of uncomfortable frequencies meet. 

kick iiii sets a more melancholy tone that allows you to bathe in the moment and appreciate how far Arca can bend unique production elements into a coherent and gentle sound. It’s the comedown after the intensity KicK iii brought. It’s the feeling of collapsing into bed and drifting into your own dreamscape following a week of chaos. Where voices were packed together in one massive crunch in the previous album, kick iiii cuts back and errs on the side of Arca’s version of minimalism, without losing that stimulating touch. 

Arca initially announced only four albums to chronicle Kick, but released Friday’s album as a little bonus to fully close the storybook. The last album even plays like an epilogue. kick iiii could have concluded the series, but kiCK iiiii is what rounds it out and gives us the opportunity to see Arca’s full range of both fervent and quaint sounds. It allows us to flip the pages and find an extra sense of satisfaction, knowing the extent of how absolutely beautiful music can be — and how impressive it is that it comes from someone who can do it all. 

 

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Jillian Nguyen

Jillian's origin story began with jam sessions to early 2000s Eurodance tunes, resulting in her current self-proclamations as an EDM aficionado. Jillian has followed her favorite artists to over 15 music festivals and countless concerts.

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