Soulless, but not without substance, Arca’s Mutant certainly lives up to its title. Arca stands out with a style of music that conveys emotion more directly than most other songs but nearly overloading the ears with the different distinct sounds and clever use of music theory.
Midway through the album, the song “En” dramatically builds up with an increasingly present humming noise that throbs like a vain after strenuous exercise, as a mysterious voice aggressively whispers throughout the song, expressing the ever-present anxiety the composer feels about his quick rise to fame.
Despite Mutant being Arca’s second full length album, he’s already collaborated with artists such as Kanye West and Björk. One of the reasons it took him so long to produce his own material was that Arca was helping Kanye create his wildly popular album, Yeezus.
Yet, he breaks away from the mainstream to do his own thing in Mutant, where he creates music that is hip-hop deep in its roots, but clearly in an experimental category of EDM.
Despite the inherently less stable nature of ambient EDM themes, Arca is able to maintain a coherent storyline throughout his album.
The mood early on in the album is shown to be joyful and optimistic in the first track “Alive.” Arca express his vision of the quintessential hopefulness of youth, through quick and syncopated beats played at a high octave.
But the album quickly takes a dark turn as soon as the next track, “Mutant,” begins. With dark, deep bass accompanied by an incessant whine that cuts in and out, “Mutant” introduces a plot into the album. Arca shows the listener as he constantly accepts and rejects what he feels, at war with himself.
Mutant is an introspective album, with Arca pushing himself to the limits as he finds his footing both in the music business and his style. The self-exploration theme Arca exudes morphs into self-doubt, and though these defining tones manifest themselves in the music in a more positively later on, these tones remain in his music.
To express emotions and ideas not easily conveyed through words or other media is a primary purpose of music. By being able to directly convey his world to the listener, that’s what gives Mutant its worth.