Arca - Xen
Critic Score
Based on 19 reviews
2014 Ratings: #93 / 957
User Score
Based on 311 ratings
2014 Ratings: #209
Liked by 5 people
November 4, 2014 / Release Date
LP / Format
Mute / Label
Wonky, Glitch Hop / Genres
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Fans of his hip-hop and R&B work will certainly be challenged by the sparse and experimental nature of Xen, which makes it one of the most satisfying listens of the year.

The Line of Best Fit

Not many records can worm their way into your mind so successfully – this is abyssal electronica with a tormented bent and visions of nowt but pitch black pits of despair.


Taken as a whole, it is an album about unstable unities, things that cannot easily hold together, wholes breaking to pieces and being put back together again in new and unfamiliar shapes.

The Skinny

The album is a slow starter, however once immersed there's no point of return, with the title track exploding before your ears, while the world of Slit Thru carves a scene where drowning and dancing are one and the same.


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.


Contorting his sounds into discordant beauty and cacophony, Arca’s ‘Xen’ is full of gorgeously haunting contradictions. Intent on terrifying one second and cushioning with spectral beds of sound the next, it’s a record that’s hard to keep up with.

Tiny Mix Tapes

It’s a gracefully self-contained ecology — a sonic environment rich with empty and warm spaces, within which the listener is urged to breathe more easily and share in a queer feeling of belonging.

Resident Advisor

An album that's never quite what you want it to be, nor for that matter is it any one thing for more than a few minutes.

Rolling Stone

What sets these tracks apart from any trend, current or foreseeable, is their emotional punch. Arca has built a robotic, alien world strengthened by its beating heart.

They do be dummy thicc tho... 👀

Anyways, after producing some of Yeezus and FKA Twigs’s LP1, you think this would be a mind blowing experience, but I don’t know man most of these songs just sound empty and lack any substance. I mean, there are some cool ideas on this thing, Bullet Chained was a banger and Xen sounded pretty atmospheric and dope, (definitely the stand out track of the album) however, I honestly don’t care for the other tracks on this album, most of the ... read more
Apesar do forte tom experimental, 'Xen' se mantém na mesma estrutura do início ao fim, oferecendo apenas canções repletas de instrumentais eletrônicos que aqui, acabam contribuindo para os primeiros passos de Arca como uma produtora de prestígio.
cool sounds and textures bro, it would be cool if you made fully fleshed out songs with them, that would be nice wouldn't it haha
Xen is a clear demonstration of Arca’s potential as a producer. The experimentation with weird noises and textures is pretty interesting. However, this project lacks in energy. Most of it feels so lifeless that it’s almost like I’m listening to an endless video game soundtrack. By the end of it, I was getting pretty bored and annoyed to be honest.
BEST TRACKS: Xen, Sisters, Slit Thru, Thievery
WORST TRACKS: Failed, Wound, Tongue
I fully understand the concept of this Mixtape.
I believe that here the Ark exploits its power as a producer, showing all of us that it is also capable of producing music that does not have more aggressive aspects.

However of all the works by Arca, this one I would classify as the "weakest", it gets boring with time, and even the songs passing fast, it seems that we are having the same experience from the beginning.
It's certainly her weakest job, but it's also not bad.

Final ... read more
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Track List

  1. Now You Know
  2. Held Apart
  3. Xen
  4. Sad Bitch
  5. Sisters
  6. Slit Thru
  7. Failed
  8. Family Violence
  9. Thievery
  10. Lonely Thugg
  11. Fish
  12. Wound
  13. Bullet Chained
  14. Tongue
  15. Promise
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Added on: September 11, 2014