Saturday, June 9, 2012

i'm not too surprised at the persistence and wide dispersal of the term "post-rock", it's sufficiently vague and elastic and evocative to lend itself to many purposes

i am a bit surprised at the half-lives of the term neurofunk, another of my creations (i did coin that one, as far as i can tell; post-rock as a term goes back as far as 1967, but it was me that affixed it to its 1993-onwards meaning, although that has since drifted some way from what I envisaged)

yeah but neurofunk -- that was always, well, if not quite a joke, then certainly there was an undercurrent of malice

i disliked that direction in drum and bass, it left me cold .. up to a point i could appreciate some of the production and the atmosphere-sculpting but it just didn't give me the rush i got from "Renegade Snares", "Terrorist", "Helicopter Tune", "Supersharp Shooter", "Shadowboxing", "Squadron", etc etc

it had turned into something else, something that required a name

so I tried to come up with as unappetising a name as possible

ArtCore and Ambient Jungle has become compilation titles, so I really hoped that some label would heist the term and (as with Artcore and Ambient Jungle) hasten the acceleration of the sound away from that direction, make it as short-lived as possible

or even kill it off

of course that didn't happen and as this shows, the style abides as basically the dominant strain in drum'n'bass



what i get from this video mix of landmark tracks in the genre's evolution from 1997 to round about now is not really "the evolution of neurofunk", but a sense of stasis -- not only does the style not appear to have made any giant leap forward, it often sounds like more or less the same bassline (certainly on a timbral level, but even the way the B-lines are patterned), and the same basic beat, in all these songs

the main evolutionary leap seems to have been from what I was talking about in that December 97 Wire piece (more clinical Optical/Jonny L) to the Bad Company sound at the end of the 90s. and then it doesn't seem to make any leaps as such

(BC who i briefly rated as the Motorhead of D&B but in retrospect seem more like the Judas Priest)




jeepers, there's a whole YouTube channel dedicated to this stuff --  NeuroFunkGrid -- and also a Soundcloud page etc:

Started in 2010 as a promotional channel for Neurofunk dnb, NFG is now the most important source for the genre on Youtube due to strong partnerships with loads of greats labels and artists. Thanks to this reputation, NeurofunkGrid has promoted new talents and helped them get signed, including artists such as High Maintainence, Landscapers or Ovey wich get debut EPs on labels such as Ammunition or Mindtech Recordings.

Labels partnership :
Ammunition Recordings, Bad Taste Recordings, Subculture Recordings, Subsonik Sound Recordings, Mindtech Recordings, Dangerous New Age, Live & Dangerous, Close 2 Death, Fatality Recordings, Overtech Recordings, Abducted Records, Tongue Flap Recordings, Rise Audio, Full Force Recordings, Hypnosis Recordings, Kindcrime Recordings, Synchronic City Recordings, Icarus Audio, Cognition Recordings, Nocid Business
Artists promotion :

Ovey, Hexus, Para, Qo, Shelter, GRINteck, High Maintenance, Cliffhanga, Lorem, Xilent, Landscapers, Allied, Chook, Imprintz & Kloe, Signal, The Unik, KUNG, Aphonic, Rico & Scoop, Custom Soldierz, Billain, Semantics, Zeal & Litta, Iron, Exorcist, Hackage, Wreckage Machinery, J.Nitrous, Nasty Genius, Shem, Triage, Eleventh Sun, Subsonik, Aeph, Neonlight, Blokhe4d, Fourward, Anthrax, Blah, Disphonia, Lakor, TDM, Nova, Braincrack, Dilemn, NRanges & Uberman, Fourward, AnB, L 33, Lakor, Emperor, Vidual, AHK, Telekinesis, Ear Abuse, Ophlot

 then there's this which i stumbled on at eMusic and what got me thinking about this in the first place -- the Neuro Funk EP on the label Sub Slayers. Except listening to it, it doesn't sound like neurofunk at all -- it's retro-jungle, with in some tracks a heavy rootical current (exactly what got phased out of neurofunk). On "Herbsmoke", there's some really period-precise Amentalism with a great sub-rumbling B-line.  Third track reminds me of prime Full Cycle and the Size-Die-Krust sound. Lots to like then.  Can't think what made them title the EP Neurofunk.





here's some more "proper" neurofunk




4 comments:

tgpb said...

i always thought neurofunk was more the choppier equinox, sileni, macc end of the spectrum. always just thought of this stuff as techstep.

just realised i'm getting mixed up with drumfunk. like a right idiot.

but as for stylistic forward motion, wasn't a lot of this stuff indirectly a big influence on the deadmau5/skrillex edm stuff? i'm sure noisia, spor, possibly panacea did quite a few 'straighter' electro house tunes that used the same sonics and structural allegiance to the drop.

tgpb said...

i always thought neurofunk was more the choppier equinox, sileni, macc end of the spectrum. always just thought of this stuff as techstep.

just realised i'm getting mixed up with drumfunk. like a right idiot.

but as for stylistic forward motion, wasn't a lot of this stuff indirectly a big influence on the deadmau5/skrillex edm stuff? i'm sure noisia, spor, possibly panacea did quite a few 'straighter' electro house tunes that used the same sonics and structural allegiance to the drop.

ahr2nd said...

Still waiting for "oceanic jungle" to catch on. Maybe SPLASH005 from the "seapunk" label Coral Records?

pete.devnull said...

While there's plenty of neurofunk that appears "static" to outsiders, I think it's another example of fractal growth in music sub*genre - after a sub*genre like that gets established with its own fanbase who listen to it largely to the exclusion of other stuff even in the larger parent genre (eg kids who specialize in "neurofunk" not just "dnb"), it starts
growing inward where the changes and evolution between tracks are completely invisible to outsiders while being obvious to those entrenched in the scene.

Ironically you could see the same thing with a lot of samey "drumfunk" during that period where quite a few people were aping paradox's style. There were a number of producers quite happy to use the atmo sample / rare groove break chopped / not much else template.. but for those who like it, it was all a question of WHAT rare groove break, HOW was it chopped. In terms of the bass in modern neurofunk tracks, it really is pretty complex if you look at both how it's achieved through heavy sampling/processing/layering/resampling/reprocessing/relayering. Not just a simple VSTI ala common brostep. It's too bad this is often to the detriment of rhythmic complexity, I'd love to hear more "neurochoppage" type stuff (though it's hard to eq those basslines just right if the drums are skittering all over the place).

Overall, it might not be apparent to most, but there's probably at least *some* significant advances made to that BOOWOWOWARGHAFOO bass in the latest Phace track since some random cause for concern jam from 10 years ago. Not my absolute favorite genre, but not quite as "stuck in the mud" as you think IMO.