Alejandra Ghersi (born October 14, 1989), better known by her stage name Arca, is a Venezuelan experimental electronic producer, songwriter, mixing engineer, and DJ.
She is known for her futuristic, extremely detailed production (involving, among other things, non-quantized sequencing and microtonal manipulation), and her audiovisual work with filmmaker Jesse Kanda, which is usually very Uncanny Valley-esque and akin to a modern-day equivalent of the Aphex Twin/Chris Cunningham duo.
Her work deals with themes of queer identity and sexual violence while often sidestepping explicit acknowledgement of it through lyrics. Many of her music videos, however, show these themes.
- Baron Libre (EP) (2012)
- Stretch 1 (EP) (2012)
- Stretch 2 (EP) (2012)
- &&&&& (mixtape) (2013)
- Xen (album) (2014)
- Sheep (mixtape) (2015)
- Mutant (album) (2015)
- Entrañas (mixtape) (2016)
- Arca (album) (2017)
- @@@@@ (single) (2020)
- KiCk i (album) (2020)
Provides examples of the following tropes:
- Body Backup Drive: Diva Experimental on @@@@@.
- Body Horror: Distorted figures resembling humans and animals are a staple of her work with Jesse Kanda.
- Darker and Edgier: The material on Mutant is way darker, aggressive and industrial than it was on her previous album.
- Entrañas is even darker, featuring more abstract rhythms, heavier drums, and downright omninous vocal melodies.
- Deranged Animation: A staple of her work with Jesse Kanda is strange, humanoid figures often contorted or distorted in inhuman manners.
- Dream Team:
- She has collaborated with Björk on her eighth album, Vulnicura and her ninth, Utopia. Björk would return the favor on KiCk i via "Afterwards".
- She worked with FKA Twigs on the entirety of her second EP, and a few tracks from her debut album.
- With Kelela on a few tracks from her 2015 EP, Hallucinogen and a few tracks from her debut, Take Me Apart.
- What made her popular, at least among critics, was her work with Kanye West on a few tracks from Yeezus.
- She is given credits for programming on a track from Frank Ocean's Endless.
- With SOPHIE on "La Chiqui" and Rosalía on "KLK", both from KiCk i.
- Early Installment Weirdness: She used to have a project called Nuuro, which was just simple, glitchy electropop sung in Spanish.
- Epileptic Flashing Lights: Used extensively in the video for "Xen".
- Fan Disservice: The "Reverie" video dedicates a lot of screen time to her ass...which happens to be smeared with blood.
- The video for "Sad Bitch" has Xen dancing nude while wounds slowly grow on her.
- Genre-Busting: Her music has drawn influence from reggaeton, industrial, ambient, IDM, Latin American folk music, and art pop among other things, but even that doesn't help describe how strange her sound design is. Her style even seems to change from album to album. Xen is mostly glitchy beats over ambient pieces, Mutant is a heavy, formless industrial thing, her self-titled has operatic vocals, and KiCk i is basically deconstructed reggaeton.
- Humanoid Abomination: Her "alter ego" Xen (from which her debut album is named after), is one of this.
- In fact, a lot of the imagery used in her projects seems to invoke this.
- Hell Is That Noise: The intro to "Mutant" features harsh, glitchy bass sounds and what sounds like yelling.
- Improvisation: Reportedly, a lot of Xen was improvised during its production.
- Lyrical Dissonance: While it does sound a bit dark, the track "Desafío" from her third album is very upbeat, possibly the most accessible song she has ever done. However, lyrically, it seems to be about a painful breakup, from a submissive point of view.
- Ms. Fanservice: Has both a sleek build and zero qualms about flaunting it.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: While her music is undoubtedly electronic, people still have a hard time defining exactly what she's doing. It seems like she takes influences from IDM, glitch, hip-hop, reggaeton, ambient, and UK garage, among other genres.
- Mutant also adds elements from industrial, noise, and techno music.
- Arca even adds elements of art pop, R&B and even typical "latino" genres such as bolero or tonada, with her singing in almost every track at some point. And it works.
- New Sound Album: Her self-titled album in comparison to the first two, as it is vocal-centered.
- The Oner: The video for "Reverie".
- "Psycho" Strings: "Family Violence".
- Self-Titled Album: Her third studio album, considering it focuses on her singing voice and all other name options felt wrong.
- Squat's in a Name: She has publicly stated that from the album Xen, only one song title out of 15 has an actual meaning ("Failed", which is about her boyfriend at the time, Daniel Sannwald). This hasn't stopped people from further theorizing, though.
- Surreal Music Video: The modus operandi of anytime she works with Jesse Kanda to the point that some have started calling them the modern-day Aphex Twin and Chris Cunningham.
- Textless Album Cover: Sheep, Mutant, Entrañas, the self-titled, and the digital/streaming edition of KiCk i.
- Title Confusion: "Waste" has often been mistakenly called "DM True" (which is actually the song directly preceding it on &&&&&); this can partially be attributed to it being referred to as such in the credits for the game Succulent, which introduced a lot of people to the song.