Thursday, December 10, 2015

Song of the Day #238 - Arca - Alive

Relentless beats!!

I've been listening to this album a lot recently, it's pretty sick. The album art is nightmarish, basically unlike anything else I've ever seen maybe, something that I feel I'll never really forget, and is apparently a picture of FKA Twigs?? But on the other hand it reminds me of this video which is uh what it is. This sort of duality extends into the music, too... It's so complex and powerful that it feels transcendent, it feels like whole layers of your mind getting peeled away, the interweaving of the frantic, panning beats, that feel like they're circling all around you, and the smoother higher tones that seem like they thus must take place in a separate impossible space.

My favorite aspect, though, is this quality of everything "surging together", everything kind of "jumping" at the same energy... I think if I was to put it in an image, it would be like a blender containing a bunch of like, rocks, or something, but like, a variety of rocks, lots of different sizes and colours, and then someone is spamming the "pulse" button, making them all leap in slightly-staggered unison. Does that make sense? Can you picture that? Now picture that it's both in space, underwater, in a dream, and in hell. Or just listen to the song.

And it's just so relentless, too! It has the sensation of pushing it right to the point where you expect it to relent, and then pushing it further, and then pushing it even further than that, always defying your rapidly-adjusting expectations. I think it's because the rhythmic qualities work on beat for a bit, but then move to off-beat in each "section", and then end up so far gone that it sort of reestablishes what "on beat" is. It's all about moving out of comfort zones. This applies to the dynamics, too - it has that quality of "being louder than you would have expected to be comfortable, but not uncomfortably loud" that I love and speak of often.

But, like I said, this dynamic musicianship is only one half to the appeal of this song. The other part is the sheer degeneracy of it, the part that makes you want to wild tf out and act like our good friend Melonpan when you hear it, the part that makes you feel like you're losing your mind and you encourage it, wantonly shoving chunks of your brain into the aforementioned blender and uh wow this is getting gross. I have this sense of "competition" or "escalation" in tracks like these - I got this feeling from Oneohtrix Point Never's "Zebra", but then I had to move to the more aggressive "Ezra" when I had adjusted to it, and now I need this to sate me. The demand for relentlessness is similarly relentless. I think if I don't break the addiction soon I will have to push into genres that may not have been invented yet.

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