AOTY 2018


Arca - Xen
Critic Score
Based on 17 reviews
2014 Ratings: #147 / 845
User Score
Based on 179 ratings
2014 Ratings: #157
November 4, 2014 / Release Date
LP / Format
Mute / Label
Electronic, Wonky / Genres
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Your Review



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.

The debut of Arca is an introduction to his own world, where he makes his own rules, and mkes you like them
Unfortunately, nowhere near as enjoyable as his follow up album Mutant. The impressive soundplay and production is there though, but his songwriting is disappointingly lacklustre a lot of the time. Very rarely do any of these tracks manage to grip my ear and interest me, these tracks don't really go in directions that are satisfying to listen to a lot of time imo, but still, Arca's production is immaculate from beginning to end as expected. Some of these tracks are quite anticlimactic too and a ... 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