It’s true that there was a blast of old-school grumbling last year, mostly directed at neurofunk producers that said the D&B subgenre had gotten too technical, too perfect and too caught up in sound design. It’s also true that some of these, especially the originators of neurofunk like Skynet or Renegade Hardware, had a point. The “funk” seemed to be getting lost in what was passing as neurofunk.
But with their massively fun and creepy 2017 EP on Eatbrain, aptly titled No Brain No Pain, the Slovenian duo of Telekinesis sat in a neurofunk sweet spot while this debate was raging. With enough funk and dark-steppy swing in their beats to satisfy the neuro naysayers, the duo’s composition was also so technically tight that you could bounce a quarter off their waveforms. No Brain No Pain was easily one of the best EPs of the year, and fans have been looking east for a while now, wondering when the next telekinetic zombie alliance would be dropping. Enter: Beware.
The new EP by Telekinesis dropped on Monday and while it did not disappoint, it’s also quite different from No Brain, No Pain. The beats still swing nicely in tracks like “Look Out,” but there’s a much stronger tech element in many of the synths and more grinding metallic sounds covering the melody lines. “Look Out” might also be a shout back to “Wipe Out” from No Brain, No Pain, as the tracks have similar names and both feature MC Nuklear.
“Warp” and “Intruder” are more hard-pounding and unapologetic neurofunk tracks, hearkening back to the subgenre’s heyday. Both tracks also have some big, cinematic sounds which fill the ambient space. It’s an interesting combination that leads to the EP’s closing track, another showstopper collab with Eatbrain label head Jade.
“Numbers” is unique from start to finish, but still very much in the neuro wheelhouse. It’s a bit cheeky, with vocal samples of American politicians run through what sounds like the same mod Phace & Misanthrop used on “Sex Sells.” The track that winds around the sample is what’s really mad, however, with a heavily syncopated double-kick drumline which also comprises the bassline. The techy, metallic synth begins each phrase with what sounds like shots from some futuristic automatic weapon. It’s likely meant to go with the vocal samples and is perhaps a bit political, but that’s for the audiences to decide. Either way “Numbers” will floor most listeners with all that’s going on in it composition-wise, and it’s a definite highlight of the EP.
Bewareas a follow-up to No Brain, No Pain was definitely worth the year-long wait from Telekinesis. The EP not only shows the evolution of the duo’s style but their sense of fun when it comes to their composition and their ability to incorporate all the best parts of neurofunk into said style. If any argument still exists about this powerful subgenre of D&B, it will likely stop once again for Telekinesis.