Boomkat Product Review:
After teasing it in for ages now, Arca finally commits her extraordinary 2nd volume of fwd mutations nearly a decade since she first made our jaws drop.
The shapeshifting child of influences ranging from Elysia Crampton to TCF and Autechre; Arca is easily one of the most thrilling, prism-pushing artists on the planet right now. Her take on a distinctive Venezuelan heritage, spliced with formative experience of life in NYC during the ‘00s, and a leading edge production knowledge, has become an inimitable template sought out by everyone from Shayne Oliver, Dean Blunt and Björk to FKA Twigs and Kanye since her emergence, signifying a tectonic shift of underground and pop attention to South America’s melange of Afro-Latin musicks in the process, and, quite importantly, with a queered tang shared by SOPHIE (RIP) that’s also paved the way for the likes of Aya and Eartheater in her wake. Now ‘KICK ii’ is effectively her tightest body of work yet, balancing all aspects of her style in singular, sexy af equilibrium that feels for the frayed, phase-shifting hyperreality of the times like few other records that come to mind.
The dozen tracks are puckered with a pop-wise suss that leaves no two seconds wanting for detail or beautifully dissonant expression coupled with a lusting drive. Powered by permutations of tresillo, she bitch slaps form and style into the 2020s, fleeting from the alien, polytemporal hymn of ‘Doña’ thru tight reggaeton bullets in ‘Prada’ and the trance-synth gilded ‘Rakata’ to the gyring perreo of ‘Tiro’ and godly ballad ‘Luna Llena’, with ‘Araña’ and ‘Femme’ suturing the links between her killer early work on the ‘Stretch’ EPs. ‘Muñecas’ plucks on the ‘artstrangs with beautifully bittersweet pull, and ‘Confianza’ perhaps best illustrates the influence from Elysia Crampton’s all too often overlooked emosh genius, slipping into Radio A-list ready territory in their Sia collab ‘Born Yesterday’, and ‘Andro’ plumes off into cinematic, sensual hyperspace ready for the incoming volumes.