Arca’s Madre EP and the best new music this week

The only playlist you need in your life.

by Frankie Dunn
22 January 2021, 2:48pm

Photography Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott for i-D's 40th Anniversary Issue

I don’t know about you, but the five and a bit weeks since Arca released her 100 AI-generated reworks of KiCk i highlight “Riquiqui” have felt both long and empty. Today, you’ll be pleased to hear, the Arca drought is over. The Barcelona-based producer, artist and icon has released a project called Madre, featuring heart-bothering strings by London composer Oliver Coates on the nine-minute-long title track that opens today’s playlist. “I wrote Madre years ago,” Arca has said of the project, which comprises of four unique variations of a single song, including an acapella, the instrumental, the Oliver Coates version, and Arca’s original unprocessed vocal take, which she played along to herself on a (since-deceased) cello.

“I did ‘Madreviolo’ playing the cello myself, before working with Oliver,” Arca has explained. “After recording it, I destroyed the cello I bought specifically for this. It had to be a one-time thing for the version where I pitched up my vocal to castrati registers. But the original version with my unprocessed vocals — which felt a necessary version to share alongside ‘Madreviolo’ — needed an arrangement that I could envision but couldn’t hear. When I shared the acapella version with Oliver there was an insane resonance and chemistry; where he took it felt like the place I dreamed of but couldn’t reach without him.” Consider that place very much reached.

Elsewhere in new music, there’s a fun new single from CHAI called “ACTION”, which is guaranteed to get you up and off the sofa for at least 3.5 minutes. Knowing exactly what we all needed to hear today, the Japanese quartet sing: “It’s ok, it’s ok, everything is ok / because I believe in you and me.” TYVM, CHAI <3 The release comes with the news that their WINK LP is on the horizon, due for release on 21 May via Sub Pop. Even closer (like, tomorrow 23 January) though, is the ultimate joining of forces: the Euphoria episode in which the new Rosalia and Billie Eilish collaboration “Lo Vas A Olvidar” will appear. So keep an eye out for that too.

It’s been a surprisingly strong week for music and there’s so much more where that came from: Raissa’s harmony-laden “SHADES ON”, a whole new EP from Yu Su, a killer collab between digicore artists glaive and ericdoa, “Lapdance from Asia” by Cosha and Shygirl, plus new magic from Jimi Somewhere, Deb Never, Wu-Lu, Kota the Friend, Griff, Alfa Mist, ELIO and our old friends FAKA.

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