December 20, 2014
A touch of playful egotism, ironic self-deprecation or starry-eyed prophecy? When Arca self-released his 2013 &&&&& mix on vinyl earlier this year he listed it at a cool £1,000,000, only to change his mind in favour of the more palatable £9 price tag. Not bad for a fourteen track single-sided mixtape, backed with etching and some of the most brilliantly grotesque artwork of the year. Until his debut album Xen was announced in early September the 500-copy &&&&& had only sold twice on Discogs, for either side of £50, only for it to shoot up on the second-hand market to over £110 in the last few months. To put that in some kind of perspective, Aphex Twin’s Syro box would have to sell for over £3,000 to match it for percentage increase. However, money alone is not the only reason we’ve picked this for number one. It’s safe to say it’s been a big year for the Venezuelan producer, whose stint with Kanye West has heralded more production work with Bjork, a critically acclaimed debut on Mute and a startling debut show in the UK with A/V partner Jesse Kanda.
That he kicked it off by self-releasing &&&&& on vinyl with minimal fuss, and made it readily accessible to the general public, makes this record among the most powerful examples of how value and collectability can be accrued organically. It was never going to be worth a million quid but Arca surely had a bit of an inkling that he was onto a good thing.