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Xen Image
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 58 Ratings

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  • Artist(s): Alejandro Ghersi
  • Summary: This is the second full-length release for producer Alejandro Ghersi, who is known for his work on Kanye West’s Yeezus and FKA twigs albums.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Nov 25, 2014
    100
    Xen is decidedly playful, its alien sound palette used to conjure surreal songs that are melodramatic and nursery rhyme-like.
  2. Nov 6, 2014
    90
    Not interested in following in anyone's footsteps, Arca borrows back the skeletal remains he made to West and creates new albeit strange life. Gorgeous and ghastly, Xen is no clone, but it may too resonate through generations.
  3. 85
    It's an instrumental record, as probably is to be expected, and those looking for the kind of emotional depth (beyond primal urges and base fear) or commentary might be a bit disappointed. Nonetheless, that minor point will probably be a non-issue, totally overshadowed the devastation in play.
  4. Nov 3, 2014
    80
    The way Arca plays with and decorates time, letting sounds and moods mutate spontaneously, makes Xen a complete picture of his artistry and also promises much more.
  5. Nov 5, 2014
    80
    It’s not quite the full spectrum of colours, but there’s an ambitious scale within its palette that allows Arca to craft the textural masterpiece that Xen quite often hints at being.
  6. 80
    It’s one of those albums that elegantly restates the appeal of digital music, expressing hues and states of being that fall outside the analogue spectrum.
  7. The Wire
    Dec 15, 2014
    50
    Shorn of vocals, Xen suffer the same fate as much beloved contemporary beat music, which is a kind of dazzling monotony. [Nov 2014, p.63]

See all 22 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 1 out of 9
  1. Jan 28, 2015
    10
    Best known for his critically acclaimed production on Kanye West’s Yeezus (2013) and FKA twigs’ EP2 (2013) and LP1 (2014)—as well asBest known for his critically acclaimed production on Kanye West’s Yeezus (2013) and FKA twigs’ EP2 (2013) and LP1 (2014)—as well as co-producing Björk’s ninth studio album Vulnicura (2015) Venezuelan producer Arca definitely knows how to contact electronic and robotic with organic and trap music that's definitely amazing Expand
  2. Nov 4, 2014
    10
    This is the best electronic album of 2014. It's cohesive and sounds fresh and futuristic, seriously, i can't see anything topping thisThis is the best electronic album of 2014. It's cohesive and sounds fresh and futuristic, seriously, i can't see anything topping this masterpiece. Now, can't wait to hear what he is gonna do with Björk. i'm superhyped by the incredibly talented Arca. God bless South american artists! Expand
  3. Nov 4, 2014
    10
    One of the best albums of the year. Arca is of the best productor, of course. Working with Kanye West, FKA twigs and now Björk, makes of himOne of the best albums of the year. Arca is of the best productor, of course. Working with Kanye West, FKA twigs and now Björk, makes of him the bestest. That's all. Expand
  4. Jan 3, 2016
    9
    This album is rather beautiful - it's welcoming, sexy, and, honestly, kind of belongs in a demented Disney movie. Each track sparkles andThis album is rather beautiful - it's welcoming, sexy, and, honestly, kind of belongs in a demented Disney movie. Each track sparkles and shines in its own odd ways. The second single, Thievery, is also a great cut for just letting loose and dancing to. Definitely a recommendation. Expand
  5. Jun 16, 2015
    8
    The acclaim Alejandro Ghersi—AKA Arca—has received since his 2012 EPs Stretch 1 and 2 and his work on FKA twigs, Kanye West and Björk’s mostThe acclaim Alejandro Ghersi—AKA Arca—has received since his 2012 EPs Stretch 1 and 2 and his work on FKA twigs, Kanye West and Björk’s most recent releases hasn’t distracted him from continuing the development of his own overall musical agenda. Xen is named after Ghersi’s own ‘feminine spirit’ that appears on the album art and in its accompanying music videos, described as being an ambiguously gendered “naked being” that her audience are “simultaneously attracted to […] and repulsed by”. Musically, it’s also a representation of that, where the tone goes from sexy to scary within seconds of each other. The closest Ghersi’s chopped, screwed, and consistently inconsistent songs can come to lead single material is the reggaetón of “Thievery”, which is sort of an accessible introduction into Xen as a whole and, thanks to the music video, very well belongs to the most luxurious strip club in your city. Even within its experimentation, Xen invites you in with its artsiest moments—the metallic and synth soaked title track and, according to Ghersi, the most personal one on Xen, “Failed”, which is about his current boyfriend. The cold and claustrophobic nature of Xen can be an uncompromising experience for listeners expecting more musical versatility and instrumentation, coming off as dull. But for anyone who gives it a closer examination can hear the heart beating behind these beats and as it continues to pull you in, the realization that Ghersi has made one of the most mood-altering and sonically distinguishable records in electronic music comes kicking in even closer.

    Overall rating: 8.6

    Highlights: "Xen", "Sad **** "Sisters", "Thievery", "Failed"
    Expand
  6. Jan 19, 2016
    8
    I think that the EP's are better than this album, but Xen still is wonderful.
    The album is a trip to the darkest sounds in music
    I think that the EP's are better than this album, but Xen still is wonderful.
    The album is a trip to the darkest sounds in music
    ......................................................................
    Expand
  7. Nov 29, 2018
    2
    When you look at this album just as art & not music; it's pretty good.
    Arca really sucked me in to this wierd universe that he created & it
    When you look at this album just as art & not music; it's pretty good.
    Arca really sucked me in to this wierd universe that he created & it succeeds in deliviring me the spooky, glitchy, electronic, dark, alien vibe that he was going for.
    But that still doesn't excuse the terrible music.
    Expand

See all 9 User Reviews

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