15 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

24-year-old Venezuelan electronica artist-producer Arca, aka, Alejandro Ghersi, did his highest-profile work on Kanye West’s Yeezus, but solidified his dominance with the mastery of sound heard on his &&&&& mixtape. Xen is his second “official” full-length work. Working without the limitations that starring vocalists bring (though conversant in using the human voice as an instrument), Arca succeeds largely because he allows few defining centers of gravity, preferring a free-flowing non-linear sense of motion that’s comfortable leaving great amounts of space between its shifting notes. “Fish,” for example, lingers without support, crafting a fragile sense of crystalline beauty. 

EDITORS’ NOTES

24-year-old Venezuelan electronica artist-producer Arca, aka, Alejandro Ghersi, did his highest-profile work on Kanye West’s Yeezus, but solidified his dominance with the mastery of sound heard on his &&&&& mixtape. Xen is his second “official” full-length work. Working without the limitations that starring vocalists bring (though conversant in using the human voice as an instrument), Arca succeeds largely because he allows few defining centers of gravity, preferring a free-flowing non-linear sense of motion that’s comfortable leaving great amounts of space between its shifting notes. “Fish,” for example, lingers without support, crafting a fragile sense of crystalline beauty. 

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5

32 Ratings

A rewarding experimental electronic record

g-kaltilinfinity,

Arca's debut album Xen is a depature from his last project &&&&&. This record (unlike &&&&) has virtually no vocals and very little hip hop beats. Instead, hes focused more on soundscapes and textures this time around, and the results are a very intesting mix of fragmented rhythms, harmonies and melodies that seem both improvised and organized in structure, along with a nuance of different mood shifts through out the entire album. Xen is arca's most experimental recording to date. The highlights on this recording, for me, are obviously Thievery for starters, but also Lonely Thugg, Sisters, Slit thru and Now we Know. This is his most dense record, and not like his previous projects, but it is not less imaginative, artistic or enjoyable than anything hes done. I look forward to more arca in the future, whether it be his contributions to other artist's projects or his own projects. 5 stars!

YES. YES. YES.

bms456,

It’s fire.

About Arca

Alejandro Ghersi (aka Arca and Nuuro), is a Caracas-born, Brooklyn-based producer of lurching, abstract hip-hop. In 2012, he issued a trio of short-form releases for the UNO label: the four-track Baron Libre, the six-track Stretch 1, and the most substantial of the three, the ten-track -- but still EP-length -- Stretch 2. His work caught the ear of Kanye West, who sought him to co-produce four tracks for Yeezus: "Hold My Liquor," "I'm in It," "Blood on the Leaves," and "Send It Up." That album was issued in June 2013. A month later, Arca released his own &&&&& for Hippos in Tanks, and he maintained his profile due to heavy involvement with FKA Twigs' self-titled EP for Young Turks. A vinyl edition of &&&&& was made available the following January. In September 2014, the single "Thievery" became Arca's debut release for Mute; shortly thereafter, his first full-length for the label, Xen, arrived. Arca also co-produced FKA Twigs' 2014 debut album LP1, and Björk's Vulnicura and Kelela's EP Hallucinogen in 2015. Early that year, he self-released Sheep, his score for a Hood by Air fashion show that featured samples of Björk, Lana Del Ray, and Robert Wyatt in its tracks. Several songs from Sheep appeared on Mutant, a dense, challenging set that Mute released in November 2015. The Entrañas mixtape featured a collaboration with Mica Levi and arrived in mid-2016. After announcing that his third official album was to be titled Reverie, Arca signed to XL in 2017 and released the vocal-heavy Arca. ~ Andy Kellman

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