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Album Review: Arca - Mutant

By Jonathan Fuchs, Copy Editor

[Mute; 2015]

Rating: 4/5

Key Tracks: “Mutant,” “Anger,” “Front Load”

Arca is a producer that has worked with huge names since his start in 2012, including Kanye West, FKA twigs and Björk. He received critical praise for his debut album Xen, as well as past EPs and mixtapes which are filled with haunting synths, heavy bass, and glitchy production.

Arca’s second album, Mutant, is similar to his past material. However, everything is turned up a notch: the synths are more haunting, the bass is heavier, and the production is glitchier than ever. Mutant is one of the darkest electronic albums to come out in 2015 and is incredibly creative, mysterious and addicting.

Mutant is a little different from Xen in terms of the direction it goes in as it progresses. While still satisfyingly creepy, Xen can’t match up to Mutant in terms of atmosphere, and there are plenty of moments that feel like filler. Though Mutant still has those filler-like moments, there certainly is a lot less of them, and when they do occur they’re drowned out by haunting overtones that give off a sound similar to producers like The Haxan Cloak.

The best moments on Mutant are the title track, a seven-minute long adventure filled with the most haunting 808 bass on any album this year, and “Front Load,” a short-yet-sweet song with fantastic instrumentation and a style similar to Arca’s earlier 2012 EPs Stretch 1, Stretch 2 and Baron Libre.

As a whole, Mutant is a fun, dark album with a ton of interesting layering and production. It grabs the listener at the very beginning and refuses to let go for the entire 60-minute runtime.

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