Arca - "Thievery"

While no one’s going to deny that Arca’s solo output so far -- the collection of three excellent EP’s which earned him the #2 spot in our 2012 Albums of the Year countdown, plus a mixtape that had its own film played at MOMA last year -- should be enough merit to justify the attention the Venezuelan producer has been enjoying lately, there will be few out there arguing against the fact that it’s his collaborations with Kanye West and FKA Twigs that gave him his biggest moment on the spotlight yet. Or at least, his more accessible. That could all change very soon as excitement seems to be everywhere for Arca’s upcoming debut album (called Xen, and to be released via Mute on November 3). The increase in attention that Arca’s material has been gathering isn't really due to an improvement or transition in his production (the new track could fit in either Barón Libre or &&&&& and actually not even stand out), but rather to the fact that, thanks to Yeezy and Twigs, he’s no longer one of the best kept secrets in off-kilter electronic music. His aesthetic might be even less-inviting than before: the cover art finds new levels for the post-human imagery of Jesse Kanda, and the music is much more focused on mood rather than movement, although the breakbeat might finally earn the producer a spot on a few dancefloors. But if there’s anything that “Thievery” makes clear, it’s just how much Arca’s prints are all over the work of his recent collaborators: the screechy synths could make for a beat for Twigs to sing over, and with the grim piano melody, also carries all the chagrin and fuzziness that made Yeezus such a distinctively produced rap record. For most of these last couple of years, the whole world has been listening to Arca via the footprints he’s left in his collaborators output. But with Xen the whole world is finally going to be listening to what Arca can do on his own. It’s his chance to take the spotlight for himself.