Album Review – Xenia Rubinos “Una Rosa”
The highly anticipated third full LP from Xenia Rubinos—“Una Rosa”—melds together genres, culture, language, and powerful political messages over experimental electronic synth; her voice weaves together colorful tapestries of resistance, grief, and freedom. Xenia’s voice is unique in its timbre and range, spilling over syncopated drums and enigmatic electronic explorations. Aside from the distinctive musical qualities, the album stands out as a work of resistance against the countless injustices faced by marginalized communities. Rubinos’ messages are clear: free the kids in cages; Breonna Taylor deserves justice; and down with capitalism. The LP is also deeply personal to Rubinos, featuring songs lamenting heartbreak and the pressures of productivity.
Rubinos’ influences are as vast as her instrumentation on “Una Rosa,” utilizing pan flutes, claves, car blinkers, modular synthesizers, autotune, and various other methods of creating sounds deeply rooted in her culture. Her Cuban and Puerto Rican heritage emerge as a fantastical landscape of musical possibility. The opening track “ice princess,” a soft meditation, calls listeners gently in, begging for the intimacy of headphones—possibly in the dark, a few times on repeat—to really absorb it all. It feels simultaneously like a departure and a return to Rubinos’ first LP—“Magic Trix”( 2013)—followed by “Black Terry Cat” (2016), showcasing her ability to create unique and inspired music from across a wide breadth of genres and cultures. Continuing in her efforts to expand the boundaries of musical intersectionality, Rubinos diverges from her previous LPs musically, using drum machines and other methods for drumming while layering both obscure and familiar melodies throughout. An exciting addition to Xenia Rubinos’ repertoire, “Una Rosa” pushes the boundaries of what is possible to be heard.