First Listen: Arca – Xen
Last year, when FKA twigs broke out of obscurity with her EP1, no publication missed to mention that Kanye West contributor Arca provided and often it was more than just hinted that he was the genius behind twigs’ sound. Now, after twigs has proven that her vision is not dependent on any specific producer, Arca finds her name as a reference point on his resume.
However, Xen is very different from what he did together with twigs. It’s fully instrumental and, while it has a lot of his signature deconstructed beats, it’s not a dance record. It feels more like an exercise of translating a narrative quite literally into sound. And the explicit titles don’t leave much room for guessing: for example, a track Sisters sounds like two sisters chatting and Family Violence uses piercing violins to portrait violence.
It’s an interesting album but also one that demands a lot of attention, which is not always what I want from an instrumental electronic album.