Arca Shatters Expectation on “Piel”

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Since Alejandro Ghersi (aka Arca) emerged at the beginning of the decade, his sound has continued to become more undefinable yet more physical—overwhelming sensations, at times, matched with pure physical force. He’s pioneered a fluid, flexible, and often grotesque style of electronic production; what’s tied together all of his vertigo-inducing music—from his debut LP Xen to the boundary pushing Entrañas—was its unpredictability. Now, he’s decided to pivot completely, dissolving the shroud of sounds that made him famous: On, “Piel,” the opening track from his forthcoming third album Arca, Ghersi opens up, and introduces his stunning singing voice to the world.

Ghersi sings the entire track in Spanish, conjuring up the same reverence of opera or church. In the past, the Venezuelan-born producer’s tracks have shared qualities with chamber music, but never has he sounded so spiritual and so dramatic. His enunciation, the way his each and every word coils around the sharp, acidic tone of guitar reverb and cavernous bass synths, is intoxicating. “Piel” is a delightfully strange song that lifts from well-trod emotions like ardor or holy passion, and repackages them in hypermodern fashion. This first taste of Arca does more than subvert the expectations we have of Ghersi: It annihilates them.

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1 eMusic

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