Boomkat Product Review:
Arca ropes in Ryuichi Sakamoto's guest vox for the quietly reserved, 5th and final instalment of their epic ‘kiCK’ series
The closing chapter to one of this decade’s most ambitious pop projects thus far, ‘kiCK iiiii’ completes Arca’s magnum opus with a suite of heartbreaking ballads and torch songs rendered in skeletally spare settings. Accompanied by little more than stark solo keys, chamber-like baroque R&B strings and icy electronics, the dozen parts present Arca at her most vulnerable, stripping away the tricksy sound design and reggaeton rhythms for a haunting portrait of modal vocal presences and haunted negative space.
Emblematic of a changing world, Arca’s four preceding volumes have scaled in intensity and mood from operatic melodrama to bleeding edge rave, but only sometimes hinted at the depths of its 5th instalment. Ryuichi Sakamoto’s guest vocal on highlight ‘Sanctuary’ is as surprising an peculiar as any of the previous guests (Sia, Shirley Manson, Oliver Coates, Planningtorock), but also not the best thing here. That accolade goes to the album’s curdled torch song ‘Chiquita’ with its eerily naif vox and warbling keys, sharing a sort of damaged cabaret appeal with the outstanding closing flourish of ‘Crown’, and the puckered, almost Autechrian baroque melody of ‘Estrogen’. But there’s no doubt this one is meant to be consumed in full context with its other songs for optimal effect, and that’s what we recommend you do, pronto.