Arca

Arca

(XL Recordings)

The electronic musician Alejandro Ghersi, aka Arca, was encouraged to try singing by Björk, with whom he worked on her album Vulnicura (he has also produced songs for Kanye West and FKA Twigs).

His third album, following two mainly instrumental ones, rises to the challenge. The London-based Venuezelan’s vocals are upfront, a stylised presence amid the music’s computerised drones and beats. High operatic tones evoke a baroque ghost in the machine, while deeper passages of singing, sung with theatrical slowness in close-up into the mic, suggest a torch singer on his last legs.

“I cannot feel you,” he sings in Spanish in “Sin Rumbo”, a haunting number with arthouse horror-movie atmospherics. The word “sentir” (to feel) recurs in “Miel”, drawn out for so long that it seems to collapse under its own weight. An undercurrent of violence emerges, summoned by outbursts of glitchy beats and whipcrack effects; but the album moves towards a calmer sensation, ending with the optimistic upward chimes of “Child”. Björk’s advice has been well taken.

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