DN1XX – AL1EN – EP Review
I tell ya…when it comes to the husband/wife working-combos in pop-culture I still think it’s largely examples like Tom Cruise & Nicole Kidman working together…which was brilliant to some, terrible for others. Or even worse, something like Madonna and Guy Ritchie which was much more unanimously panned in the court of public opinion…think of their movie together for a moment. Can’t remember it? You’re one of the lucky ones then. Or perhaps a more modern-day example would be like, the downright unbearable cheesiness that comes along with the merging of Blake Shelton & Gwen Stefani’s worlds. The point is…there are numerous examples of where it doesn’t seem to work 100% – but what if it did? What if there was a truly equal balance between the two parts and when it comes to the art itself, that’s always priority number one? I can’t imagine anything better personally than being able to work with my wife in an artistic capacity – but chances are, even if that were somehow possible, we’d fall right into that cheesy/awkward combo that husband/wife teams are notorious for…it’s just not in the cards for us. As much as I might like to imagine a world where it IS a possibility for everyone out there…deep down inside, I know that’s just not the case; the couple that can pull off being in a relationship and creating art together…is a rare commodity out there, truly…and DN1XX is one of’em.
Meet the husband/wife team of Dico & Nixx, who found a way to beat the odds and create art & music that works, without the cheese-factor. And while I’ll admit, my first experience came via video while checking out their single “Not Alone,” giving it a seriously trippy & exciting visual boost in the interest department, making it even EASIER to love this duo…it was still clear pretty much right from the drop that Dico & Nixx were able to unlock that rare combination of the married couple that can really get it RIGHT when it came to the music as well. You’ve got Dico handling the Electro-based music essentially, and Nixx is the stunning voice you’ll hear on the mic – together as DN1XX they discover that incredible balance of power that allows each of them multiple moments in the spotlight to stand-out individually as the stars they are, while also proving that when combined, they’re a genuine force to be reckoned with. Plus, I’m not even remotely kidding – the video for “Not Alone” perfectly complements this entire vibe onscreen – this is badass electro-art right here is what this is.
Like c’mon right? How well put together is THAT? I was hooked on this video before the opening credits even came up – this crushes! You can instantly see how professional this experience is gonna be – and like I said initially, they’ll go on to be equally impressive in the music they make together. Dico’s got great instincts for how to maximize the dynamics of sound and the structure of “Not Alone” gives Nixx a perfect platform for her graceful vocals and beautiful tones – she’s remarkably well-suited for a sound like this. Again, credit to the husband/wife team here…because it’s likely that love & mutual respect they share between them personally and professionally that has everything sounding like such a natural fit. “Not Alone” pumps out a solid empowering & uplifting vibe…comforting as it is entertaining in many ways – I like how DN1XX has got this mapped out for Nixx to deliver her crystalline melody on the mic through the verses and has Dico ultimately laying down a wild electro-combo where you’d normally find the chorus. So you kind of get like…this journey in sound that flows perfectly from what Nixx starts in the verses, where she’ll pretty much go on into a pre-chorus/chorus of her own by the time she’s exiting each part she’s on, setting up Dico to make that explosive and colorful punch in the music afterwards. Like I said…it’s all about balance, it’s all about finding that way like DN1XX has to make the most out of both sets of individual skills and bringing them together in a way that still features both in the spotlight & displays what they bring to the music – but also highlighting how necessary each element of what they do is to the overall sound. It’s a symbiotic relationship – they complement each other spot-on.
They’re certainly fortunate…being a duo, there’s nowhere to hide if things were to go south…and they’ve clearly taken great care in ensuring that doesn’t ever happen. They’re bringing their A-game to the material on their new EP – listen to the depth in the sound of a cut like the title-track “AL1EN” and you’ll get a great example of what they’re capable of. Nixx sounds gorgeous in the melody she’s written & performed; wonderfully expressive sound and lyrics that are both relatable & powerfully moving – the idea of feeling like an “AL1EN” is one that I think a lot of people out there connect with at some point in time in their lives…we all feel out of place sometimes. What I’ve said every so often here at the pages also proves the opposite to be equally true – sometimes, when you hear an artist/band in the moment, and you know they’ve really connected to that special, intangible X-factor…you can hear that these artists/bands are right where they are meant to be. So…while I know it’s an unintentional contrast that exists in what you’ll hear in the fragility of the lyrics of “AL1EN” and the gripping, professional, and remarkably controlled performance of this tune…it’s a contrast that makes me smile. I’m positive that Nixx is writing from a genuine place – I’m convinced of that, there’s no issue there – I’m just saying I can only imagine how comforting for the soul it must be to one day go from feeling as isolated as she must have at one point, to realizing she’s right there at home with Dico, making music where she truly belongs. Seriously…take a second…breathe-in and imagine finding that place where you can just be yourself, wherever and whoever that might be…especially after feeling “AL1EN” for so long – can you imagine how remarkable the entire shift of your LIFE would be? DN1XX does an exceptional job of expressing what that loneliness of feeling like an “AL1EN” would be like with a beautifully objective & real vibe that runs through the melody & lyrics of this song…I think that echo of the main line of the chorus was a brilliant idea. “Do you feel like an AL1EN?” is a really unique & magical lyric in this song that seems to take on several meanings…it’s got the question built into it of course, but the way it’s sung gives it an invitational and accepting texture…as if to almost say, “Do you feel like an AL1EN?” because it’s okay if you do right here in this space, it’s safe…maybe you’re even more welcome and at home than ever before. Very impressive mix of emotion, energy, and exploratory sound throughout this title-track – they should be proud of this cut. That low-end swell is right on the money, Nixx sounds spectacular, the drums & synth sounds fill the atmosphere brilliantly, and the chorus is stunningly subtle & massively effective…definitely a highly memorable moment in time here – this is what a title-cut should be like.
Enlisting the talents of Macifif – this collaboration tripped me out for a second and I had to check to make sure I didn’t get the files mixed up, because “Skin” featuring DN1XX is like the remixed cousin of “AL1EN.” Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t complaining – I just didn’t realize that was what’s up at first. I look at it this way overall…I like what I hear, I like the different vibe & spin that Macifif puts into the direction of sound & atmosphere…it’s another good version of a great song and I’m always a huge fan of a single living many lives through remixes & what-not…that’s always cool with me, I like different perspectives. Where the risk undoubtedly lies for DN1XX, is having both “Skin” and “AL1EN” existing on the same EP – back-to-back no less…which…yeah man…I dunno really what else to say there, I think that’s a risky move. While they both might sound great – and they do; having both “AL1EN” and “Skin” on the same record occupies at minimum, 40% of the space on a five track EP…you factor in the fact that the opening tune is a quick less-than 60-second intro, and now you’re kinda at the 2/4 mark, or 50% of the AL1EN EP is then spent listening to that one set of amazing hooks. My instinct is always to protect an amazing cut and preserve that uniqueness as best possible, if only to keep it from ever wearing out – my gut always tells me that it’s extremely rare to have a song appear twice and be so entirely different that it doesn’t affect that repeat-value. To be completely fair, it is much more common to find this happening in the electro-circuit with ‘long,’ ‘short,’ ‘dubstep,’ ‘extended’ remixes etc. etc. – and “Skin” I believe is also originally found on the Macifif EP called Going Beyond – so it’s kind of an arrow in the quiver of DN1XX that certainly had to be shot in a way…but yeah…I’m always going to advocate on behalf of keeping the music in a position to never wear out. As bulletproof as the hooks, sound, and ideas of “AL1EN” translate on both the original and in the “Skin” version from Macifif – I still might have been inclined to break them up when it came to the lineup on the official EP, if not gone with a separate bonus single altogether. You see what they’ve done to me? I want to naturally protect that specialness of what DN1XX is creating and see them reach that success they deserve. Cause there truly ain’t no doubt – they’ve got strong material…I love everything I’ve heard, I’m just doing my best as always to shed some light on some things to consider in the future, which are entirely format-related here & nothing more; as far as content, creativity, and execution are concerned, DN1XX is on completely solid ground already.
Even the “1ntro” to the record is captivating…I think Nixx sets the stage for what’s to come and puts across bold emotions, thoughts, and feelings, all unfiltered and out in the open, right from moment one on their new EP. The closing cut “TON1GHT” ends AL1EN on sweet melodic vocals and energetic electro bursts, revealing that magic in this duo one final time before we get to their next adventure in sound.
A next adventure of which I’m confident there will be – and who could blame them? Dico and Nixx get to love each other at work and at play – you couldn’t ask for a better life than that as far as I’m concerned. They sound at home together in the music they make; it’s perfectly produced, sounds spectacular, and has a lot of heart & passion on display…it’d be pretty hard not to dig what DN1XX is up to, they’ve done a terrific job of creating songs that’ll genuinely connect with the people out there.
Find out more about DN1XX at their official website at: https://www.dn1xx.com
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