Written by Maria Arroyo
Singer, songwriter, programmer, engineer, and self-taught producer Brian Fennell, the man behind the project, SYML, shares his new EP, DIM via Nettwerk Records. Listen/share HERE. SYML says that this record is a “loss exploration,” and each track explores the different forms and stages of grief.
“This EP is largely about losing those close to us,” says SYML. “Calling it DIM really applies to the light we carry during our time here. When those lights go out, it’s this sort of dimming process, but rather than living in that sadness – even though I think that’s a really healthy thing to do, to stay in that cozy, warm blanket sadness sometimes – it’s about honoring what that light was, and realizing that there’s still that same light in all of us that are still here.”
SYML pulled this EP together with the help of producer Paul Meany (Twenty One Pilots), mastered by Levi Seitz at Black Belt, and mixing engineer Joe Visciano (SZA, Earl Sweatshirt) at Studio 112 with one track at Bunker Studio. “People like Paul and Joe act as mirrors instead of wrecking balls,” says SYML. “They showed me different angles of my songs and creative process that have ultimately made each better. When you find people like that to collaborate with, it’s a feeling of equal parts excitement and humility.”
SYML‘s opening track, “Stay Close,” is a nice, lo-fi, pop song with catchy melodies and a strong melodic structure to keep the song going. Right from the beginning, his production style is infectious. His lyrical ideas are overly incredible. It was right after this track that I’d realized I had completely fallen for him and his music. SYML shares that this track is a pretty personal one, as he talks about his father’s battle with cancer earlier this year. Catch the official music video for “Stay Close” below.
His next track, “Black Teeth,” has a darker indie sound, but still is as incredibly produced and executed as the first track. I think his decision to put these tracks right by each other only helped diversify his sound and add more color to his songs.
“True” is another catchy and inviting track that mixes in a little bit of R&B vibes, too. The instrumentation is just as solid, which speaks to his immense talent as a multi-instrumentalist.
“Yes And Know,” which is the only track to be mixed at Bunker Studio, highlights some different production techniques, one of which is the ability to reverse the reverb on certain tracks, which is a neat trick to hear in a song. Once again, SYML’s infectious lyrics and melodies make this song a hard one to forget, which is only heightened by his smooth and incredible vocal skills.
The final song is the title track, “Dim.” This is also the only song that SYML co-wrote with someone on, so a big thank you to Brian Eichelberger for helping to bring this song to life. I can’t repeat it more, but his knack for top-of-the-line melodies and easy-to-connect with lyrics is beyond something I could ever put into words.
This is definitely another favorite for the books. SYML’s Dim is a beautiful creation that really resonates with me and I think it will do so for so many other people out there. Fennell is a force to be reckoned with, and I already cannot WAIT for his new music!
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