Arca: KICK (XL) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Saturday, September 30th, 2023  




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Musical multi-hyphenate Arca understands more than any artist in the public eye that flux is a natural part of the human condition. It’s illuminated in her music, performance, visuals, and whatever medium she uses to illustrate facets of her self-expression. The world Arca has created through her art defies any sort of binary, be it of gender, genre, or form itself. In-between states are explored endlessly, and liberation is found in entropy and chaos.

“Speak for your self-states,” she proclaims near the climax of “Nonbinary,” the opener to KiCk i (and the KICK anthology as a whole). This statement reads as a call-to-action not only for the listener, but for Arca herself. It is a thesis for the overall body of work she has just birthed, with each subsequent album revealing a different facet of identity that lives within her. The respective album artworks, which begin with Arca in human form on KiCk i, undergo drastic experimentation with differing forms and bodies to finally reveal her as a goddess on the cover of kiCK iiiii. The project’s title, according to Arca, refers to the kicks of a fetus in utero; gestation and transition, birth and rebirth are explored as cyclical and continuous processes.

The differing self-states explored across the KICK anthology are manifested in the overall sonic palettes of each record, whether it be the bombastic reggaeton of KICK ii or the orchestral minimalism of kiCK iiiii, which sees Arca at her most subtle and understated. Powerful guest appearances run amok, with Björk’s sung rendition of Antonio Machado’s “Anoche Cuando Dormia” providing the crux of “Afterwards,” and electronic legend Ryuichi Sakamoto delivering haunting guest vocals on “Sanctuary.” They all work together to support the vision of Arca, whose voice cracks, malfunctions, and explores the flux of its existence in tandem with the music. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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