Arca – Sheep

Arca - Sheep

Alejandro Ghersi jumped the fuck up into the spotlight back in 2014 with Xen, a left-field hip-hop album that was equal parts Flying Lotus and Aphex Twin, and his production work with Björk on Vulnicura.1 Sheep is a single-track seventeen-minute EP that premiered as the soundtrack to a Hood By Air fashion show.2

Sheep is less hip-hop and R&B than belied by Xen; the album has much more in common with experimental club put out by Warped and Ninja Tune beatsmiths. There are distinct sections that rarely last more than ninety seconds, with the exception of a final four-minute long choral arrangement that gradually dissolves into bass rumblings. The brevity is refreshing; no ideas last longer than their worth, and Sheep encourages repeated listens. The discursiveness that plagues DJ mixes is not to be found here; the crossfades are aptly produced and create a sense of cohesiveness instead of a bunch of short ditties that were sloppily cut and pasted together. Perhaps a few ideas miss the mark, but Sheep is pretty solid listening, even out of its context as a soundtrack.

According to Ghersi, Sheep contains eleven songs, but the order is anyone’s guess. Here’s mine:

1. Mothered – (0:00-1:20)
2. Pity – (1:21-2:22)
3. Drowning – (2:23-3:09)
4. En – (3:10-4:41)
5. Sifter – (4:42-6:13)
6. Submissive – (6:14-7:25)
7. Umbilical – (7:25-8:57)
8. Hymn – (8:57-10:35)
9. Don’t / Else – (10:36-12:31)
10. At Last I Am Free [Interlude] – (12:32-13:07)
11. Immortal – (13:08-16:55)

Rating the songs by section is kind of pointless considering Sheep is presented as a cohesive piece. That being said, the bold songs are my favorite.

Overall: ★★★★☆

1Which actually came out in January of the following year.
2I don’t care for Pitchfork, but their description of the show as “strutting duds from an inevitable Fifth Element reboot” is pretty hilariously spot-on. Check out some images here:


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