Alejandro Ghersi, better known as the electronic music producer Arca, recently released his second studio album Mutant, representing a wide range of experimental electronic elements across the songs. Ghersi’s music incorporates an almost jagged-like quality, particularly noticeable in the song “Mutant.” Few notes hold complete consistency, instead opting for a constant vibrating status between two pitches. The tempo avoids the constant and expected changes that are iconic of classical and other types of music, instead choosing to fluctuate on Ghersi’s whim. However, the presence of almost haunting melodies seems to emerge from the incomprehensible clutter of sounds, hinting at a paradoxical order within disorder.

Mutant does not fail to accomplish that. It is an ambiguous amalgamation of songs full of unconventional instrumentation and sounds. The beginning several songs create a chaotic, uncontrollable atmosphere of unsteady beats. Midway, songs such as “Else” establish a both eerie and beautiful atmosphere with the gentle piano notes that could pass off as a solo piece. The following track, “Umbilical,” is a jarring contrast from “Else,” repeating the same sounds at unpredictable times. The song seems to build a frenetic energy with no calming release. 

Towards the end of the album, the tracks continue to contrast one another to drastic extents. “Soichiro,” the penultimate song named after graphic artist Jesse Kanda’s middle name, provides no room for rest. Rather, it overwhelms the listener to a deluge of surreal sounds, switching between grand amounts of music to only a few sources of sound interacting with each other in an alien-like manner.

The final track, “Peonies,” makes itself utterly incomprehensive, perhaps the most extraterrestrial quality. Unlike “Soichiro,” it does not waver between harsh and playful tones, but rather gives off an aura of calm mystery, where the listener fails to know whether it is a threat or a friend. Regardless, the music is relentless, forcing the listener to sit through the entire musical experience. Fitting of its title and album cover art, Mutant ends on a deceptively placid note, as though keeping a secret of what lies beyond earth—a secret only disclosed within the unnerving yet all consuming tracks.

Ghersi, a Venezuelan record producer and mixing engineer, released his debut album Xen in 2014. However, his career in music began earlier. In 2012, Ghersi released several extended plays and assisted in producing songs for Kanye West’s album Yeezus. Arca’s music was characterized as ambiguous and in an interview with The Guardian, he stated that he wanted his audience to be actively confronted and unnerved by his music. Mutant is living proof that this is still the case three years later.