Fenix x SM1LO featuring Llexa – Where We Begin

Amidst stunning piano keys that are suffocated by a blanket of bass tones, Llexa finds a place to unleash her soft serenade in Kali’s remix of “Where We Begin,” the closing track in Fenix & SM1LO’s new record of the same name.

Of all the different mixes of “Where We Begin” on this LP (fourteen, including the original version, to be exact), this could be the most straightforward and evocative cosmetically. Along with SM1LO’s remix, which directly precedes it in the tracklist, this version of the song uses the verses to cohesively channel the groove, where the “Fenix Club Radio Dub Mix” and “Fenix Club Radio Edit” stack all the chips on the presence of the instrumentation in the background.

The “Fenix Club Dub Mix” and “Fenix Club Remix” are nearly indiscernible from one another structurally, and unsurprisingly sport the most danceable moments of the entire record. “Fenix House Radio Dub Mix” is my favorite manifestation of “Where We Begin” but not because of its chokehold on the sensuous rhythm alone. It’s constructed more evenly than the other mixes here are, and has the punch of a prize fighter without coming off as lacking in artistic substance – which, as anyone will tell you, isn’t easy to pull off.

Where We Begin” comes to a magnificent climax with the mid-way bruiser “Fenix House Radio Edit,” but I don’t feel like the track is quite as radio-friendly as the straight “Fenix House Dub Mix” is, even though the beat is a little more inviting in the former than it is the latter.

I can see where it might be difficult for non-audiophiles to get into some of the more complex mixes in this record, but for those of us who can’t get enough of a multidimensional slab of electronic pop, this really is the cream of the crop in Europe and abroad right now.

The first thing that we hear in “Where We Begin” is the most basic version of the title track, but it doesn’t have the same emotionality, nor throttling tone of Kali’s unbeatable remix of the song later on in the album. The “Dub Mix” is treble-heavy but decidedly sharper in its percussive swing than what we hear in the “Radio Edit” or “Radio Dub Mix.”

Listening to the entirety of “Where We Begin” is like experiencing a dream via audiological means exclusively; no matter how many times we think we know what’s about to happen next, the rug is constantly being pulled out from under us as a reminder that anything is possible in this impossible realm of consciousness.

I had no idea what to expect when Fenix & SM1LO’s collaboration landed on my desk last week, and while I can admit that I was initially confused by its juxtaposition of crunching synths and beautiful, pristine melodies, I’ve come to relish its refined complexities, which are incredibly unique when compared to the often repetitive sounds that the EDM underground has been championing in the late 2010s. This is a turning point for both of these artists, and a great listen for electronica connoisseurs both young and old this summer.

Click here to find out more about DJ Fenix.

Click here to find out more about SM1LO.

Eric Jarvis

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