A slight change of direction for d&b label Shogun Audio’s offshoot SGN, Bristol based newcomer Neuropol’s The Warning EP just landed, bringing four varied, but consistently soul infused, pieces of bass music to a label that up to this point has stuck rigidly to the 170 tempo. Drawing influences from both Hip Hop and dance music, he treads water between genres as bass heavy kicks prop up space age melodies, glitching atmospherics and cinematic emotion for an EP that stands out from the abundance of miscellaneous bass music with a classy, and yet somewhat up beat, style that seems to take a d&b outlook and structure to a different tempo.
The title track Warning introduces proceedings, it’s delicate hats and wind atmos punctuated by understated pianos and vocal hums as we get a hint of what’s to come when Marlene Abuah’s infectious vocals later punch in amongst a juxtaposition of throbbing synths and heavily layered and chopped melodic sophistication. Without a doubt the EP’s strongest track, it’s marriage of powerful vocals and thudding drums is a win win, particularly coming into it’s own in the latter half after cinematic strings lead through a dramatic, tension soaked breakdown. A more sinister take, 12th Round steps militantly through glitches and feedback as it’s sharp, metallic drums encompass a slight trap influence, merging it with a heavy groove and deeply layered textures. Progressing through an array of rising alarms, repeating keys and cut throat vocals, it’s a true dance floor shaker.
Meanwhile, Dusky Brights brings an extra element of funk to his style as skipping vocals pitter patter among loose snares and a stunning synth melody before the track takes a darker twist midway as deep feedback and gloomy tones engulf it’s light hearted beginnings. Later punching back in stronger than ever, an extra layer of syncopation in it’s melodies adding the final touch, it uses emotion and tone to great effect as it catches you off guard, journeying through the light with the addition of occasional ominous elements sonically describing the shadows on the sun. Lastly, Stand Alone fully explores the cinematic nature the EP touches upon throughout. Wobbling bass surges and rolling drums showcase d&b’s influence on the sound as light, airy melodies provide the contrast over the top for an original track that finishes it all off in fine style.
A label that seemed to slightly loosen it’s grip on the scene sometime in the past couple of years, Shogun’s policy of increased diversity and experimentation has really payed off this release as they bring something new to a scene that may otherwise not have been exposed to it. Neuropol shows exactly why he’s managed to get a foot in the door at one of dance music’s most critically acclaimed labels despite his newcomer status with pristinely produced head nod music that takes no prisoners. Out now on digital and on the 7th April on vinyl, you can grab it direct from Shogun Audio here.