L.A.’s Napolian, aka Ian Evans, was only 19 years old when his first EP, Rejoice, was released on Daniel Lopatin’s (of Ford And Lopatin and Oneohtrix Point Never) Software Recording Co. imprint in 2012. Ever a busy fellow, he has since also worked on production and mixing on A$AP Ferg’s Trap Lord and Guns And Synths from Kelela’s equally acclaimed Cut 4 Me mixtape.
Though Napolian’s hip-hop connections are impressive, his debut album is an exercise in beats production. You won’t find any samples on Incursio as it’s primarily instrumental, save for a looping question, “What’s your name?”, that lolls through the upticks of the trance-inducing dance track, Escobar, one of the few tracks that has only two elements fighting for the spotlight.
Some tracks were made for big DJ, big-crowd moments, like the funk-laden R&B track, Reminisce, or 1 Peter 1_3-4, which burns with blaring synth wahs. Others are just the opposite. The cold cuts of drum machine and glitter synths on the opener INTernal and the goose-prickling elongated chimes of Peace & Safety _ Αἰφνίδιος Ολεθρος are some of the album’s stand-out sit down moments.
The latter half of the album features the most exciting tracks. The heady, bass-bumping single DARPA, the title track, a delightfully danceable quick-step, and the reverb stomp of Seal VI all show his brass as an up-and-coming producer to keep an eye on. Those tracks are not representative of Incursio as a whole. The duality of Napolian’s debut will keep listeners on their toes as it bounces from dancefloor banger to bleep/blink anthems to chill-trance. But don’t stop listening in the middle, or you just might miss the best parts.