It's been quite a month or two for awesome debut LP releases, and L-VIS 1990's Neon Dreams, out on October 3 on PMR Records, definitely ranks alongside Joker, Rustie, Modeselektor and Tycho's albums as one of my favorites. Seriously, it's been a while since I've had any full albums on a repeat rotation, and fall 2011 is giving me refreshed high hopes for music at last. The London-based DJ formed the Night Slugs imprint alongside Bok Bok and has been working on remixes and originals for a while now, but this is his first LP release, and boy is it a delight to take in. Big thanks to theduke for pointing me in L-VIS 1990's direction.
Perhaps this is a theme in my tastes, and consequently a theme in my posts, because I feel like I repeat it over and over again in my writing about the music that I like the best, but this is yet another clear blending of underground and popular cultures, bringing together varied vocals with funky UK beats, addictive hooks, and polished production. This LP is equal parts take-the-city-by-storm and have-an-equally-wild-night-in (if you catch my drift). It's pop music that retains its underground street cred. There are moments when the vocals aren't the greatest, but the instrumentals are pretty invariably a good time.
Some tracks, like "I Feel It" remind me of the discotheque ambiance of Azari & III — it doesn't surprise me that the two have a show together soon. Because of the more bass-driven nature of some of L-VIS 1990's tunes, it also doesn't surprise me that they're opening for Skream & Benga in a few locations as well. "Play It Cool" combines a silky, eerie female vocal with a slower beat. Autotuned vocals and a funky feel in "Shy Light" are reminiscent of Chromeo.
"Cruisin" gives the listener a break from vocals but still brings infectious beats to the table. "Feel the Void" is robotic spoken word over a glitchy bassline. "Illusions" builds up slowly, pulsing deeply and evolving into numerous layers with percussive flares straight out of a jungle tribe. "Lost In Love" is probably the album's "single" as of now, for good reason, with a nostalgic male vocal combined with a modern, clean feel (this one will get stuck in your head). "One More Day" is probably the album's most slowed down track and almost feels like a summer beach jam put through a forlorn blender. Title track "Neon Dreams" closes things off with a bang.
There are plenty of tracks that could ostensibly serve as singles here, but they also work together quite well as an LP. There's really something for everyone here, and it's packed to the brim with energy. It's very difficult not to like.
Purchase: L-VIS 1990 – Neon Dreams