Fenix & SM1LO have done some very interesting work on their own, but in their collaborative album Where We Begin, they take their music in a more postmodern direction than either of them had ever exhibited in their independent careers prior to now. They’re accompanied by Llexa, who lends her soulful voice to the majority of the mixes, remixes and edited variations of “Where We Begin,” and in her singing adds a layer of melodic lust to the music that is essential to gaining the favor of electronica buffs and occasional listeners alike. With more rhythm and rock-hard harmony featured in its fourteen songs than any other LP out right now, this new record from Fenix & SM1LO is a mountainous, unbending collaboration if there ever was one to see release this year.
FENIX URL: http://www.djfenix.com/
SM1LO URL: https://www.sm1lo.com/
“Club Remix,” “Kali Remix,” “Fenix Club Radio Edit” and “Fenix House Remix” have more bass than they need, but balance out the texture of the music with sharp, rhythmic climaxes that make all of their grinding worth it for listeners in the end. Low-end indulgences have always been associated with this genre, but Fenix & SM1LO don’t deliberately draw from the same well as their influences here – they’ve got a well-rounded approach to tonality, which is quintessential to making it in their scene.
Some of the tracks in this LP feel like throwbacks to vintage club pop, but I wouldn’t call them recycled in style at all. Experimentation is the bread and butter of Where We Begin, and to that end, the few moments that do recall the remnants of a certain German underground sound that never got the recognition that it rightfully deserved are limited, and furthermore, only included as a segue into something wholly original and amalgamative of multiple genres. In some ways, Fenix & SM1LO are paying tribute to the past by being committed in this record to making a new style that is totally focused on the future.
I’d have liked a bit more kick in the drums in the “Kali Remix” of “Where We Begin,” but we’re compensated for the lack of percussive strength here in the club mixes, which put the brutality of the bassline and its shadowing drumbeat on the frontlines from the moment that the hook comes blazing through our speakers. For every occasion where one aspect of the music is mellowing out, there’s another spirt of harmonious aggression to keep us tuned into the excellent handiwork of these artists, who clearly know the ins and outs of the studio better than most of their contemporaries in the underground do.
It isn’t very often that I go for this kind of music, but to be honest, what Fenix & SM1LO have done in Where We Begin really is just too good for me to pass up. It’s club music with a scholarly consciousness; in its many forms, “Where We Begin” is, essentially, literally layer after layer of emotionally-invested instrumentals that line up with the lovely vocal of Llexa incredibly well over and over again. If you’re planning a night on the town with your buddies this weekend, I’m fairly certain that any of these tracks will work for the pregame rituals that you and your friends are likely to indulge in.