NAIS “Selecta”
NAIS “Selecta” Photo by Vera Prokopenko

NAIS is quite clearly not new to the neuro game. He’s been releasing all over the place since 2011 and his work has always had clean lines and a definite neurofunk heart. Teddy Killerz caught wind of him earlier this year and the resulting collab on Playaz begat another collab on RAM and now NAIS’s own EP on Eatbrain, entitled Selecta, due out July 22. To say NAIS is one to watch from this point, it would almost be too late. It’s only going to get bigger from here.

It’s pretty easy to see why Jade, or any hard D&B label head, would want to pick up NAIS. He’s got the chugging neurofunk synth/snare combo down to a science, his sound design is terrifyingly clean and his tracks are glitched out in a way that makes it feel like said glitches are coming from inside one’s own brain. It’s unapologetically neuro but that’s not all that’s going on in this EP.

Selecta also pays homage to the old school both in title and in the way many of the tracks are put together. Those chuggers came from somewhere and it’s clear that tracks like Bad Company’s “The Nine,” Usual Suspects’ “Killer Bees” and Krust’s “Warhead” were somewhere in NAIS’s mind in making this EP, as they likely are in most modern neuro producers’ heads.

The most direct hat tip to the old school comes, unsurprisingly, from the EP’s title track. It starts with an interesting combination in the intro, as quite a lot of dark, heavy, ambient sounds ebb and flow while a sample of the actual word “selecta” is injected and sort of ends up driving the build into the drop. That sample is manipulated and dropped at regular intervals into what is probably the chuggiest of chugger synth lines into at the phrase transitions and the break. Talk about a way to break up a heavy synth.

There’s another old school sample in the form of a battle scratch piece (DJ Hype was partial to this one back in the day) that appears at the drop and at the end of the break. Done in place of some of those brain-scrambling glitch hits neuro producers so love, it’s an unexpected twist and will make the listener both do a double take and smile at the clear nod to the old school.

There’s kind of an emotional quality that comes with the way NAIS has put Selecta together and it’s due to the way he adds the old school samples and vocals into what is otherwise a very modern neuofunk EP. Perhaps some of Playaz’s influence rubbed off on him or perhaps he just wanted to show some love to the roots. Whatever the reason, Selecta is the EP for heads young and old to start seeing NAIS as a major player in D&B.

Selecta will be out on Eatbrain Monday, July 22 on Beatport and Spotify exclusive. Check the Eatbrain website for the links on release day.