Venezuelan-born producer Alejandro Ghersi, despite his young age of 24, has already been working with artists like Kanye West and FKA Twigs, now joining the well-earned and respected ranks of Mute.
“Xen” features elements from a lot of styles of the past and present, bringing them under one banner (which looks a lot like the cover picture of this album, fitting the music perfectly). Weird samples and hectic drum-loops are placed atop atmospheric nineties club-sounds or electric pianos, Hip Hop beats walk hand in hand with glitchy synths or ambient sounds of bizarre organic instruments, while dissonant classical orchestras are interrupted by groovy ethnic beats from the future.
There is something of that Madlib or J Dilla -mentality found here, but also that chaotic psychedelic logic of artists like Flying Lotus or Prefuse 73. There is something rugged and slightly distorted in the world of Arca, but also something luminous and touching, like a weird moving formless underwater angel. Sometimes quite disturbing or almost anxious, sometimes ecstatic, joyful and beautiful, this album is not for the faint of heart. But for those well experienced in different kinds of electronic and urban music, this might just be the kick you need to get those certain parts of your brain working again.
Definitely a work of a truly gifted artist, I can see Ghersi working with a multitude of artists of different kind, or making soundtracks for film-art, in the future. I’m definitely waiting his next adventures to the far (or closest) reaches of the human psyche with much excitement and anticipation.