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Album Review: Arca - KiCk i

Arca continues to push boundaries even on her most accessible album yet.
arca kick i

Arca has released her new album KiCk i. Alejandra Ghers became a cult-favorite in the underground over the last decade pushing the boundaries of electronic music with productions that seem to stretch and collapse within themselves with a heaviness that often felt impossible to truly grasp. That has become more refined over time with some of the roughness around the edges worked out on each passing album. KiCk i distills that even more with the help of her biggest collaborations to date alongside Björk, Shygirl, SOPHIE and Rosalía.

KiCk i opens with “Nonbinary,” a fiery declaration of her gender expression. It then moves through her most accessible, but not obviously so, record to date. There are a few seemingly straight up pop songs like “Machote,” but the Venezuelan artist finds a way to incorporate a dizzying number of influences throughout this 12-track, 38-minute project. There are orchestral, almost medieval tracks like “Calor” that echo in the distance like sitting in the back of an old European cathedral. But that only comes after some of the skittering and frenetic experimental electronic music that should be welcome to her longtime fans. “Rip the Slit” may be that uncompromising and harsh experimentalism at its best, before the collaboration with SOPHIE “La Chiqui” that matches what they do perfectly.

The album provides something that she has worked on in the past, but never fully leaned into when she collaborates with ROSALÍA for a blend of Latin trap, reggaeton and the experimental electronic music that has made Arca so great. It is their two worlds combining in a weird and great way.

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The new album is Arca’s strongest move towards a more accessible sound thus far. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is the least abrasive thus far and doesn’t live as far on the edge as some work in the past. However at this point in her career, that is fine. But that may turn some people off who only want her music to be on the very cutting edge. It still remains on the bleeding edge of where pop, electronic, Latin and experimental music might intersect – a milieu that very few occupy.

Get the album now and stream it below.

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