Neurofunk, commonly abbreviated as neuro, is a subgenre of drum & bass that arose in the late 90s. With roots in London, it began as a progression from techstep, only with more funky vibes. You’ll hear strong jazz influences, as well as house, techno, and a variety of other genres. Neurofunk has a darker, harsher sound than techstep, and is generally at a faster bpm as well. Of all the drum & bass subgenres, neurofunk is also the most heavily distorted.

Neurofunk has been described as the punk rock of electronic music, and the energy and chaos present makes it easy to see why. Neurofunk is also seen as one of the most progressive genres of music as it is constantly breaking down boundaries and creating new sounds. Neuro is powerful, energetic, and loud.

Neurofunk started with Ed Rush & Optical’s ‘Funktion’, released in 1998 on V Recordings. It’s hard to say whether they knew what they were about to start, but things certainly haven’t been the same since. The first recorded use of the term was by English music critic Simon Reynolds, who described it as “the fun-free culmination of jungle’s strategy of cultural resistance: the eroticization of anxiety”. If that’s not powerful, we don’t know what is! ‘Funktion’ represents the early stages of the genre; you’ll hear the minimalist, techno vibes alongside that dark, distorted drum & bass beat we’re all familiar with.

Just over a year ago, we released this massive tune from Ewol & Espired, ‘Malfunction’. You’ll hear the dark, sci-fi vibes that are present in a lot of neuro stuff, especially in the intro. Notice the faster bpm and distorted sounds throughout, as well as the sinister vocal samples. You sort of get the feeling you’re in some sort of post-apocalyptic resistance, which is also fairly common within the genre.

This next one came out just last week, and proves the genre is still alive and well after almost 20 years. ‘On My Mind’ definitely delivers on the dark vibes, and you’ll notice the minimalist sound, too. The build-ups are more drawn out as well, but this further creates that feeling of suspense and mystery. The drop on this one is really fast-paced and high energy, and we can definitely see why neuro is called the punk rock of electronic music. This track carries a strong sense of authority, and we love it!

This last tune comes from Benny L, and right off the bat you hear strong drum & bass vibes, but those darker neuro vibes definitely come in to play here. The atmosphere on this one is so spooky, aided by the vocal samples and deep basslines. This one definitely has stronger drum & bass than techno influences, but doesn’t fall short on creating that iconic apocalyptic vibe. You get a sense of impending doom off of ‘Scorchio’, but we love it!

As always, if you enjoyed reading this piece and want to learn more about other genres, check out our articles on Electro House, Riddim, Future Bass and more!

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