REVIEW Igor Lukacevic
Alright, so it’s probably necessary to preface this by saying that this mix tape won’t be for everyone. And that’s not a pompous way of saying that some you won’t “get it” or anything, it’s just that it is such an unorthodox, left field piece of work that I can’t imagine there being much of a middle ground. It’s a relentless, unforgiving 26 minute assault of some seriously aggressive music, and with tracks averaging under 2 minutes in length, there is nothing pedestrian about &&&&&.
While the mysterious Venezuelan keeps a pretty low profile, his fusion of hip-hop elements and experimental music has not gone unnoticed, Kanye recently reached out to him for some additional production work on ‘Yeezus’. It’s not really surprising, because Arca has a truly forward-thinking aesthetic that I could only vaguely associate with artists like Massacooramaan and Fatima Al Qadiri crossing over with Autechre and Aphex Twin.
It’s as though Arca deliberately breaks convention at every corner, steps aside from any normative ideals of “nice” music, and then zig-zags away a bit further for good measure. But it’s not some tumultuous hacked-up noise that tries to pass as avant-garde for the artsy chin-strokers of the world. There are, in fact, some really wonderful melodic subtleties amidst all the chaos, and to be able to successfully toe that line of making great, yet foreign, music without just going for a different sound for the sake of being different, is an incredibly commendable achievement.
So hats off to Arca for making what would be a volatile wreck into a thoroughly enjoyable listen. With that said, it is challenging, and it warrants your full attention. It’s abrasive, and can at times be unpleasant (those damn bleeps just before the 11 minute mark), but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and the parts are pretty incredible anyway. So clear your minds, head over to Arca’s SoundCloud, and listen to &&&&&. Regrets will not be had. Free download available too.
Swag out, you motherfuckers.