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Arca - Xen

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Xen

Arca

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Lingua disponibile: inglese

Arca (aka Alejandra Ghersi) proves her mastery of flux once again on Xen, an album where every aspect of her music is in glorious limbo. Unfettered by vocalists -- Kanye West and FKA Twigs are some of her highest-profile collaborators -- the producer takes her tracks in wild but uniquely balanced directions. Borrowing equally from classical and hip-hop inspirations, her impressionistic sounds flow, stutter, bounce off of, and crash into each other in ways that unite and elevate each element, whether on "Now You Know"'s stark recombinations of strings, flute, and percussion or the dense, rumbling "Promise." Xen's intricate miniatures recall Arca's mixtape &&&&&, but where that work unfolded like a 25-minute sound painting (and was even performed as an audiovisual piece at New York's Museum of Modern Art with collaborator Jesse Kanda), these tracks are more discrete. "Xen" itself is a satisfying microcosm of the entire album, packed full of sounds in a way that's challenging but never jumbled. Occasionally, Ghersi allows a beat to proceed more or less undisturbed: "Sisters," which pairs metallic tones with a drumbeat mutated from Prince's "When the Doves Cry," approaches alien pop; "Thievery"'s massive rhythm section nods to Arca's more club-friendly work but retains the uncanny feel of the album's more abstract moments. More often, though, she reconfigures sounds on an almost molecular level. She minces hip-hop into an ebbing, flowing mosaic on "Lonely Thugg," where buried vocal snippets underscore Xen's unsettlingly organic feel. "Failed," one of a few melancholy and melodic interludes, recalls the way Oneohtrix Point Never chopped and pasted the melodramatic sounds of '80s New Age into new forms on R Plus Seven. However, Ghersi tempers cerebral soundplay with pure emotion, a move that gives Xen its own rich character and depth. The piano on the meditative "Held Apart" flows like tears in the rain, while "Sad Bitch" and "Wound" let their electronics sing just as beautifully as a human voice as they flicker between rapturous and mournful. The way Arca plays with and decorates time, letting sounds and moods mutate spontaneously, makes Xen a complete picture of her artistry and promises much more.
© Heather Phares /TiVo

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Xen

Arca

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1
Now You Know
00:03:58

Arca, Artist, MainArtist - Alejandro Ghersi, Composer, Producer - Mute Song Limited, MusicPublisher

2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited 2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited

2
Held Apart
00:01:20

Arca, Artist, MainArtist - Alejandro Ghersi, Composer, Producer - Mute Song Limited, MusicPublisher

2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited 2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited

3
Xen
00:03:19

Arca, Artist, MainArtist - Alejandro Ghersi, Composer, Producer - Mute Song Limited, MusicPublisher

2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited 2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited

4
Sad Bitch
00:01:56

Arca, Artist, MainArtist - Alejandro Ghersi, Composer, Producer - Mute Song Limited, MusicPublisher

2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited 2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited

5
Sisters
00:02:22

Arca, Artist, MainArtist - Alejandro Ghersi, Composer, Producer - Mute Song Limited, MusicPublisher

2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited 2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited

6
Slit Thru
00:02:12

Arca, Artist, MainArtist - Alejandro Ghersi, Composer, Producer - Mute Song Limited, MusicPublisher

2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited 2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited

7
Failed
00:03:40

Arca, Artist, MainArtist - Alejandro Ghersi, Composer, Producer - Mute Song Limited, MusicPublisher

2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited 2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited

8
Family Violence
00:02:14

Arca, Artist, MainArtist - Alejandro Ghersi, Composer, Producer - Mute Song Limited, MusicPublisher

2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited 2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited

9
Thievery
00:02:34

Arca, Artist, MainArtist - Alejandro Ghersi, Composer, Producer - Mute Song Limited, MusicPublisher

2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited 2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited

10
Lonely Thugg
00:02:56

Arca, Artist, MainArtist - Alejandro Ghersi, Composer, Producer - Mute Song Limited, MusicPublisher

2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited 2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited

11
Fish
00:02:08

Arca, Artist, MainArtist - Alejandro Ghersi, Composer, Producer - Mute Song Limited, MusicPublisher

2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited 2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited

12
Wound
00:02:10

Arca, Artist, MainArtist - Alejandro Ghersi, Composer, Producer - Mute Song Limited, MusicPublisher

2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited 2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited

13
Bullet Chained
00:02:52

Arca, Artist, MainArtist - Alejandro Ghersi, Composer, Producer - Mute Song Limited, MusicPublisher

2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited 2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited

14
Tongue
00:02:59

Arca, Artist, MainArtist - Alejandro Ghersi, Composer, Producer - Mute Song Limited, MusicPublisher

2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited 2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited

15
Promise
00:02:52

Arca, Artist, MainArtist - Alejandro Ghersi, Composer, Producer - Mute Song Limited, MusicPublisher

2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited 2014 Alejandro Ghersi under exclusive license to Mute Artists Limited

Descrizione dell'album

Arca (aka Alejandra Ghersi) proves her mastery of flux once again on Xen, an album where every aspect of her music is in glorious limbo. Unfettered by vocalists -- Kanye West and FKA Twigs are some of her highest-profile collaborators -- the producer takes her tracks in wild but uniquely balanced directions. Borrowing equally from classical and hip-hop inspirations, her impressionistic sounds flow, stutter, bounce off of, and crash into each other in ways that unite and elevate each element, whether on "Now You Know"'s stark recombinations of strings, flute, and percussion or the dense, rumbling "Promise." Xen's intricate miniatures recall Arca's mixtape &&&&&, but where that work unfolded like a 25-minute sound painting (and was even performed as an audiovisual piece at New York's Museum of Modern Art with collaborator Jesse Kanda), these tracks are more discrete. "Xen" itself is a satisfying microcosm of the entire album, packed full of sounds in a way that's challenging but never jumbled. Occasionally, Ghersi allows a beat to proceed more or less undisturbed: "Sisters," which pairs metallic tones with a drumbeat mutated from Prince's "When the Doves Cry," approaches alien pop; "Thievery"'s massive rhythm section nods to Arca's more club-friendly work but retains the uncanny feel of the album's more abstract moments. More often, though, she reconfigures sounds on an almost molecular level. She minces hip-hop into an ebbing, flowing mosaic on "Lonely Thugg," where buried vocal snippets underscore Xen's unsettlingly organic feel. "Failed," one of a few melancholy and melodic interludes, recalls the way Oneohtrix Point Never chopped and pasted the melodramatic sounds of '80s New Age into new forms on R Plus Seven. However, Ghersi tempers cerebral soundplay with pure emotion, a move that gives Xen its own rich character and depth. The piano on the meditative "Held Apart" flows like tears in the rain, while "Sad Bitch" and "Wound" let their electronics sing just as beautifully as a human voice as they flicker between rapturous and mournful. The way Arca plays with and decorates time, letting sounds and moods mutate spontaneously, makes Xen a complete picture of her artistry and promises much more.
© Heather Phares /TiVo

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