• Record Label: Mute
  • Release Date: Nov 4, 2014
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 58 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 49 out of 58
  2. Negative: 5 out of 58
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  1. 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 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!
  2. 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 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
  3. 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 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 anThe 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"
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  4. Jul 30, 2015
    9
    Arca's glossy, defined and thought provoking debut album is full of some very strong songs that make you want to dance, cry or feel good all at once. Although there are a couple duds on the record, (Family Violence and Promise) for the most part, this is an album that showcases Arca's talent and proves that Arca is one of the most progressive producers in the world right now.
  5. 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 him the bestest. That's all.
  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
    ......................................................................
  7. 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 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.
  8. Aug 14, 2017
    7
    Arca is a highly acclaimed producer because of his works with other experimental artists like Björk and FKA twigs. But when you listen to his work you are entering to a new world of music
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Mojo
    Dec 17, 2014
    60
    This is uneasy listening with little in the way of recognisable groove or plotting. [Jan 2015, p.94]
  2. 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]
  3. Q Magazine
    Dec 8, 2014
    80
    Everything's in flux, subject to change, but Xen is still a record of mood-altering substance. [Jan 2015, p.120]