Napolian: Rejoice (Software)
This EP on Ford & Lopatin’s Software label is a weird, woozy combination of 80s Linn-drum homage and melodic synth-pop flair. It’s a lot of fun, too — equally nerdy and humorous. While its use of manipulated vocal samples and fragments seems spot-on for recent trends, it doesn’t appear to be without a wink along the way. Nearly every drum sound recalls a different era, be it the tinny drum machines of the late 80s Wax Trax era or the fat, thick Linn drum sounds that Prince so heavily exploited in his Purple Rain-era prime. Ian Evans is the person behind the project, and he’s 19 years old — maybe this is what synthy 80s R&B sounds like as re-imagined through the mind and ears of someone too young to have lived through any of it? "My Refuge" seems to split the difference between clunky 80s industrial-funk (think Tackhead) and some kind of bastardized R&B muzak. “New World” similarly feels from a different time, but it has just the faintest nod to footwork and current UK bass music trends amidst its nostalgic palette of sounds. At times it can test my patience, like the goofy synth brass of “Banquet,” but overall it’s a spirited and fun release, living up to its title.