When the Venezuelan electronic music pioneer Arca released her fourth album, KiCk i, last June, she promised a flurry of followups. Eighteen months later and she’s unveiled Kick ii, iii, iiii and iiiii. While that opening salvo, which featured the likes of Rosalía and Shygirl, prodded pop into new shapes, and other albums in the series explore her more delicate side, the mutated dance music of KicK iii plays out like a violent headrush.
Tellingly, it opens with Arca giggling “oh shit” as if half-excited, half-scared about what she’s about to unleash. Over the course of 12 frantic songs, she leads the listener through the volcanic dancefloor anthem of opener Bruja (“Let me see you bitches bounce!” she screams, within a cyclone of distorted synths), the head-knocking, club-ready Señorita and the album’s euphoric highlight, Ripples. Rearing up from a tentative start, Arca intoning “my body, my flesh”, the song quickly morphs into a heaving, twitching apocalyptic anthem.
Recalling her early experimental work, while hoovering up dance genres at will, KicK iii is imbued with a joyous sense of freedom. “Did I stutter?” she asks at one point, as a cacophony rages around her. “Hear me roar.”