Arca is back. But somehow it feels like he never left. Our Club Fonograma staff picks usually take years to germinate between album cycles, so the fact that Mutant will drop a little more than a year after Xen feels…generous. Or maybe it's that Arca has been cornering the sensuous / disfigured R&B market in the interim, (mother) creeping up on FKA Twigs' M3L155X (an EP that is decidedly weirder than LP1, a respectable decision given that she’s since become a household name) and carrying Kelela down similar, if more reserved, tropes on the very good Hallucinogenic EP. And then there was Arca's majestic work on the dense Vulnicura alongside Björk.
Even I was tossing out descriptors such as the "Next Big Thing"and "The Future of Music" to conceptualize Arca’s music in 2014. Since then we have had ample time to assimilate Arca's tumultuous, wondrous soundscapes so the great "Vanity" did not feel as monumental. Then again, what can come close to the reggaeton-dembow structured masterpiece, “Thievery”? Arca's sonic continuum seems unchanged since Xen- our 4th best album of 2014. "EN" is also not necessarily new as most of it belongs to his commendable Sheep soundtrack. Visually, Arca is contoured (or contorted) to a more decidedly human presentation, its own. The visuals for “EN” introduce a big ass yellow bota-tacón distrocionada, attached to Ghersi's slender frame which slowly descends into the picture, revealing some gratuitous booty shots, as it beautifully sways its arms around, does that thing with its shoulders, its black dress fluttering. Remezcla called “EN” 'next level' and 'a statement on gender' but "EN", like the visual treatment for “Soichiro", feels like something out of the local School of the Art Institute. And can wearing gendered clothing in 2015 really be seen as that much of a statement? Gender destruction has been the next frontier- notice the use of ‘it’ as a gender neutral pronoun. And that's what the trans(anti?)human gender-void of Xen was all about- the absence of gender, even though Xen preferred 'female' gender pronouns. We will be listening to Mutant with open ears, which arrives November 20th.