Arca
Sheep


3.5
great

Review

by Jacquibim STAFF
February 13th, 2015 | 16 replies


Release Date: 01/15/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Arca goes off the deep end.

In retrospect, introducing myself to Arca’s work via his latest release Sheep was a mistake, although I can still take solace in the fact that it served as a – somewhat uneasy – pathway to an otherwise rewarding voyage. For someone unfamiliar with Arca’s work, this sixteen-minute mixtape can make for a squeamish experience, spontaneously skipping to and from unorthodox concepts and routinely catching the listener off guard. Sheep is best heard in the context of Arca’s discography, so his development as an artist and producer can be appreciated in a digestible, linear fashion. Forays into past material shed light on the seeds that would eventually germinate into the lunacy here, and ultimately it was the return listens – now properly acquainted and armed with newfound insight – upon which Sheep began to click.

Sheep is fascinating in that it makes a complete stylistic detour from Xen while retaining the latter’s core-aesthetic, manipulating it in such a way that the two become polar opposites, atmospherically. The extra-terrestrial vibe that appears to be something of a signature for Arca remains, but his characteristically warm, endearing, nonchalant approach has shifted towards something more deliberate and maddening. The hip-hop elements that formed the crux of his sound have been completely stripped back, leaving a bare frame that is part techno and part sound collage, with a strong ambient tilt. Overlapping synth lines are joined by a myriad of effects and samples, including monosyllabic vocal utterances, exotic wind instruments, real-world and electronically generated noises as well as – gasp – cloven-hoofed creatures of the woolly variety. Arca tends to avoid using traditional percussive sounds to form the rhythmic engine of each song, though tracks like “Sifter”, “Submission”, “Hymn” and “Don’t / Else” are exceptions. Instead, an array of blips, clangs, whirrs and looped, oscillating vocal snippets underpin a good portion of the score. Sheep doesn’t rely on hefty repetition and modulation to create an atmosphere, preferring for each sequence to contrast dramatically with the preceding one. Thus, there seems to be little connecting the tracks from a thematic point of view, although this is almost certainly a deliberate ploy on Arca’s part.

This tactic combined with the peculiar sonic make-up results in a listen that can be truly baffling, and for that reason may not be very hospitable to those unaccustomed with Arca’s distinctive style. To put it simply, Sheep is insane, and will quickly torment you into subordination if you aren’t primed for its assault. However, while it may be a rough introduction should you so choose to start your Arca trip here, Sheep is still a remarkable little piece, sure to grow on you once your journey comes full circle.



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user ratings (32)
Chart.
3.6
great
related reviews

Stretch 2

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Arca

Comments:Add a Comment 
Phlegm
February 13th 2015


7243 Comments


+!!

oltnabrick
February 13th 2015


36223 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is more similar to &&&&& than xen



i really like it regardless

Digging: Viagra Boys - Street Worms

Pangea
February 13th 2015


2727 Comments


This is so weird

Digging: Sophie - Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides

PappyMason
February 13th 2015


5702 Comments


Very nice, a great read.

I don't know where to begin with this. The extreme battering of noise does make the quieter moments feel quite sublime though (as with &&&&&).

ChoccyPhilly
February 13th 2015


11782 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just as good as &&&&& really

Digging: Erra - Neon

Cygnatti
February 13th 2015


32657 Comments


ooh nice i dug xen quite a bit! : )

DropdeadWHA
February 13th 2015


1396 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

s'good

granitenotebook
February 13th 2015


805 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

solid review, this kind of music is practically indescribable

Lord(e)Po)))ts
February 13th 2015


39900 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good stuff as usual. dont see how this is arca "going off the deep end" tho

tommygun
February 13th 2015


26839 Comments


neg

HalfManHalfAmazing
February 14th 2015


1968 Comments


is this guy Golem from Lord of the Rings

Phlegm
November 22nd 2015


7243 Comments


thoughts on Mutanttttt?

oltnabrick
November 22nd 2015


36223 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like it

hal1ax
November 22nd 2015


12109 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yup iz good

Phlegm
November 22nd 2015


7243 Comments


bessssssst

neekafat
April 17th 2018


13419 Comments


Guys I figured out who snoke is



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