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Music / Arca

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Alejandro Ghersi (born October 14, 1989), better known by his stage name Arca, is a Venezuelan experimental electronic producer, songwriter, mixing engineer, and DJ. He is known for his futuristic, extremely detailed production (involving, among other things, non-quantized sequencing and microtonal manipulation), and his 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.

His work deals with themes of queer identity and sexual violence while often sidestepping explicit acknowledgement of it through lyrics. Many of his music videos, however, show these themes.

Although he's recognized for his work with other artists, contributing to works from FKA Twigs, Björk, Kelela, Frank Ocean, and Kanye West, his solo work is no slouch, either.



  • 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)

Provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Body Horror: Disfigured figures resembling humans and animals are a staple of his work with Jesse Kanda.
  • Darker and Edgier: The stuff on Mutant is way darker, aggressive and industrial than it was on his previous album.
  • Deranged Animation: A staple of his work with Jesse Kanda is strange, humanoid figures often contorted or distorted in inhuman manners.
  • Dream Team:
    • He worked with Björk on her eighth album, Vulnicura and her ninth, Utopia.
    • He 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.
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    • What made him popular, at least among critics, was his work with Kanye West on a few tracks from Yeezus.
    • He is given credits for programming on a track from Frank Ocean's Endless.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: He used to have a project called Nuuro, which was just simple, glitch-y 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 his ass...which happens to be smeared with blood.
  • Humanoid Abomination: His "alter ego" Xen (from which his debut album is named after), is one of this.
    • In fact, a lot of the imagery used in his projects seems to invoke this.
  • Improvisation: Reportedly, a lot of Xen was improvised during its production.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: While it does sound a bit dark, the track "Desafío" from his third album is very upbeat, possibly the most accessible song he has ever done. However, lyrically, it seems to be about a painful breakup, from a submissive point of view.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Has both a sleek build and zero qualms about flaunting it.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: While his music is undoubtedly electronic, people still have a hard time defining exactly what he's doing. It seems like he 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 him singing in almost every track at some point. And it works.
  • New Sound Album: His 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: His third studio album, considering it focuses on his singing voice and all other name options felt wrong.
  • Squat's in a Name: He has publicly stated that from the album Xen, only one song title out of 15 has an actual meaning ("Failed", which is about his boyfriend Daniel Sannwald). This hasn't stopped people from further theorizing, though.
  • Surreal Music Video: The modus operandi of anytime he 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, and the self-titled album.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Wears female clothing regularly in his shoots.


Example of: