When the FADER unveiled its Arca cover story this morning, they left one key reveal out of its headline: the reclusive producer recently finished all of the tracks for Björk’s next album. While the singer’s worked with several producers throughout her career (Matmos, Matthew Herbert, LFO’s Mark bell), she’s rarely handed the keys over to this degree, which kinda makes you wonder: Is she about to bury the mixed bag that was Biophilia with her boldest record in years, a welcome transition between a film tour and next year’s MoMa retrospective? Let’s hope.
In the meantime, Arca has other matters to attend to — namely his new album Xen, which is due out November 4 through Mute. Named after a gender-neutral alter ego, the record is his latest close-knit collaboration with artist Jesse Kanda, whose “Thievery” video below would be profoundly NSFW if it weren’t such a subversive and creepy self-portrait.
“[Arca] is very multi-sided as a personality,” Kanda explained in the FADER story, “and he can sometimes become what we call Xen, jokingly. And it’s this very sassy, confident, very feminine side of him. And it’s like, ‘Ohhhh, she’s out,’ we say—mainly when we’re smoking weed, just fucking around. ‘Xen’s out.’ And he’s, like, going crazy, changing his outfits or whatever. That’s Xen inside of him. It’s this kind of ghost. A spirit.”
As for what it was like working with Kanye West on Yeezus, Arca said, “I made sure to send maybe the strangest stuff I had, and it just so happened that Kanye was excited by that … There was really no constant other than the fact that at the end of the day, [all the music we made] went through him. It’s not something I ever planned or was ever trying to make happen, but it was just, like, a complete change in my life — putting myself in a high-pressured situation just to see what would happen.
He continued, “It was a lot of coming up with design, like solving riddles. If the song called for something aggressive, it was up to three or four people to design what in their head was the best solution for that aggression in that moment. Everyone would approach it in completely different ways, and ultimately, it would all be edited by Kanye himself. In a weird way, he kind of produced it. Not only did he select it, but he stylized it.”