Exclaim!'s Best of 2014: Top 10 Dance & Electronic



8. Arca
Xen
(Mute)

A slew of solid EPs and a production nod on Yeezus immediately put Venezuelan producer Alejandro Ghersi on everyone's radar. The 24-year-old Arca has already worked with Kanye West and FKA twigs, and is currently co-producing Björk's upcoming album, a collaboration that has the whole world buzzing right now. All that aside, 2014 saw the release of Arca's debut album Xen, a revealing work that swirls out of balance, mutating soundscapes and bridging new worlds that beautifully redefine the boundaries of electronic music. Subtle transitions carry the album through the first half, oozing the seething samples into a climactic rise and fall that drips into more liquefied, industrial hip-hop cuts like "Sister" and "Slit Thru."

Throughout the course of Xen, Ghersi triggers a distinct melodrama that slithers into different facets of the production, whether shrieking violins, lucid drones or the crunchy flurries of delirious blips that keep the more dance-forward tracks like "Lonely Thugg" and "Fish" loose, upbeat and frighteningly seductive. Xen finds Arca tapping into a realm uncharted, delivering an album that feels way ahead of its time. (Max Mohenu)